Man arrested after escaping Auckland isolation facility

A man has been arrested after briefly escaping a managed isolation facility in Auckland.

The 32-year-old absconded from the Crowne Plaza hotel on Albert Street in the CBD around 1pm on Thursday.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb said he was caught by police only 100 metres away.

"Defence Force staff verbally challenged the man as he attempted to follow them out a gate, claiming he was a worker. When asked for identification he allegedly refused, and exited onto Albert St.

"AVSEC and Police were immediately alerted, and two Defence Force staff followed the man down Albert St, maintaining a safe distance while doing so until a police officer arrived. The officer was wearing a mask and gloves.

"The man allegedly failed to stop, and was chased for a short distance and apprehended."

The man absconded from the Crowne Plaza hotel.
The man absconded from the Crowne Plaza hotel. Photo credit: Supplied

The man had only arrived on a flight from Brisbane on Wednesday July 29, and has not yet been tested for COVID-19. His day three test is scheduled for August 1.

The police officer who arrested the man is therefore taking precautionary measures.

The minister in charge of managed isolation facilities Megan Woods said she was pleased with the outcome.

"The security and the police were onto it and it really does show the work of having the police onsite and they immediately could be brought back to the facility. This is an example of the systems working exactly as they should."

Woods said they would be following up on the incident to see if contract tracing is needed.

Thursday's absconder is one of a growing list of travellers attempting to escape managed isolation of quarantine facilities.

Under section 26(1) of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act of 2020, escapees can face a maximum penalty of six months in prison or a $4000 fine.

But Woods says the number of people absiocnding isn't concerning.

"We've only had a handful of instances of this happening," she said.

"We have had nearly 32,000 people go through our facilities now and I think this is probably the 10th person who has attempted to escape from a facility. "

"Of course, I don't want it to happen but what I am dedicated to doing is making sure we have the systems in place so when individuals do choose to break the law we have a way of rectifying it."