The man who allegedly escaped an Auckland quarantine facility on Thursday has livestreamed his arrest, as it's revealed he spent 12 hours in the community.
He tested positive for COVID-19 and entered the Novotel & Ibis Ellerslie managed isolation (MIQ) facility on Wednesday evening and allegedly escaped in the early hours of Thursday before he was picked up by police at a house in Ōtāhuhu.
A man claiming to be the alleged escapee posted on Facebook writing he's not sick and doesn't have symptoms.
He said he walked for three hours in the cold and rain to get from the Ellerslie MIQ facility to Ōtāhuhu and still feels well.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment confirmed on Thursday afternoon the man allegedly escaped about 1am Thursday.
"From reviewing the CCTV footage, we have observed that this individual had left his room three times between 11:40pm on September 1 and 1:04am on September 2," joint head of MIQ Brigadier Rose King said. "On the final occasion, they left down the fire stairwell and approached the fence line.
"After hiding in bushes as an MIQ staff member passed, he departed the facility at 1:07am."
But police said they weren't notified until much later in the morning - and the public wasn't notified until even later.
"At approximately 11am - facility staff were notified by someone in his bubble (who is also in quarantine at the facility) that he was not in his room. The room was immediately checked by police and NZDF staff and police then began their search for the individual," King said.
The first news reports of the alleged escape came early on Thursday afternoon.
At 1pm, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield held the daily COVID-19 news conference. Ardern knew about the alleged escape prior to that conference but failed to mention it.
Dr Bloomfield was alerted to the escapee via text during the conference.
COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins later announced the man had been arrested. He was taken into custody just before 2:30pm.
The man has since appeared in the Auckland District Court via contactless video link after being charged under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act. He was bailed back to a quarantine facility.
And Newshub has since learned this allegedly wasn't the man's first escape. After testing positive for coronavirus, the man was allowed to isolate at home - before he allegedly breached that order and left the house on Wednesday.