COVID-19: Social media users react to Auckland's managed isolation absconder

Social media users have lambasted the man who left his managed isolation facility and later tested positive for COVID-19.

The offender, who is in his 30s, broke isolation protocol by leaving Auckland's Stamford Plaza to visit Countdown Victoria St in the CBD on Tuesday night. 

His virus test came back positive on Wednesday morning.

The man escaped through a fenced area at the hotel that was being replaced while he was outside for a smoke, Air Commodore Darryn Webb said on Wednesday.

As a result, all fencing at managed isolation facilities will be replaced with six-feet-high fences. A review is also being undertaken of the arrangements for smokers and the security in smoking areas.

The offender will be charged under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act and could face six months in jail or a $4000 fine.

His actions enraged social media users, with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff calling the incident an "utterly selfish and reckless thing to do".

"I understand the person will be charged and so he should be. It sets back the hard work of all NZers over the last few months. If you are going to come home to NZ, you should be prepared to abide by the rules that keep us all safe," he tweeted.

Auckland Councillor Richard Hills also tweeted his frustration and called the offender an idiot.

"This idiot just made managed isolation a prison. He put us all at risk. He was not allowed to leave. He knew that. Security followed him. Police were called. He has been charged. The 5999 other people who followed the rules will now have their experience worsened due to him."

Kiwi epidemiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles urged returning New Zealanders to follow the rules while in managed isolation.

"We look forward to welcoming you to our bubble of 5 million, but you must remember you are a risk to us. Don't behave as though you aren't," she tweeted.

Facebook commenters also gave scathing reviews of the man's actions, with one calling him a "bloody careless human".

"Do we really want these selfish idiots coming home? No wonder people are getting angry," one says.

"I'd love to know what was so important that he had to buy that has put so many people at risk. Selfish," another commented.

"We allow you to come back to New Zealand, the least you can do is help the country and stay in isolation as asked," a third says.