Have your say: Should there be tighter security at COVID-positive quarantine hotels?

  • 03/09/2021

A man with COVID-19 allegedly escaping from a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility and into the community has raised questions about security at the sites.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, staff at the Novotel Ellerslie were told at 11am on Thursday the man was gone by someone in his bubble.  Authorities, including police, then began searching for him. It was discovered that just after 1am earlier that morning, he had left down a fire stairwell, approached a fence line, then hid in bushes as a MIQ staff member passed, before departing. 

MBIE says the Novotel Ellerslie has security staffed by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), private contractors and police. 

"As with all MIQ facilities, all external returnee-facing areas are completely enclosed by two lines of fencing no closer than 2 metres apart. The interior line of fencing is to be at least 1.8 metres high and the exterior line of fencing is at least 2 metres high. One line of fencing, and preferably both, is to be wrapped in a manner that makes observation through the fencing impossible."

Since the escape, officials have posted guards at stairwells on the ground floor and are increasing police numbers. An investigation into the incident is also underway.

But some critics, like ACT"s David Seymour, ask why the man didn't have greater security when he took off from home isolation the day prior. MBIE, however, says facilities are not prisons.

Should there be tighter security at COVID-positive quarantine hotels?

Disclaimer: This straw poll is not scientific and closes after 24 hours.