COVID-19: Alleged quarantine escapee sent home after just 10 days without being tested

Newshub can reveal the man who allegedly escaped from quarantine (MIQ) earlier this month was released early from MIQ and sent home without spending a full 14 days in a facility.

And it's not just him. The Ministry of Health admits quarantine facilities in Auckland aren't yet following strict new 14-day Delta rules because of capacity constraints.

Meanwhile, the man who allegedly cut and ran from quarantine has spoken about his ordeal for the first time.
"I'm just happy I'm back home," he said.

Newshub has obscured his identity as he has name suppression and can't discuss the alleged escape as it's before the courts.

Wednesday was supposed to be his 14th and final day of mandatory isolation. The rest of his family is still in quarantine but he's been holed up at home since being released on Saturday - just 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Not only was he set free early, but he wasn't tested.

That's not what's supposed to happen. The Ministry of Health told Newshub because the Delta variant is more infectious, it recently increased the quarantine period for COVID-19 cases from 10 to 14 days.

But in Auckland, the epicentre of the Delta outbreak - they're only phasing that rule in when capacity allows.

So after just 10 days, the man was sent on his way with a letter to prove that this time he was allowed to go home - saying he'd completed his required isolation.

Even MIQ support staff were shocked.

"I told them, they're letting me out and they were like, 'Eh? Are you sure you are not escaping again?' And I was like, 'Nah, they're letting me out,'" the man said.

"They were like, 'Oh that's weird you're supposed to stay in there for 14 days.'"

It's been traumatic for the man from the beginning. He said not enough support was in place upon arrival at quarantine - he had no clothes with him.

"I asked her if I could get some clothes and they sent like a bag full of girl clothes that I couldn't fit," he said.

He also spoke of when he was arrested.

"I was just in my kitchen just having breakfast and they pulled out their tasers and I was like, 'I'll just walk.'"

Bundled into a police van and carted off to court because he'd tested positive for COVID-19, he was held in a van outside. He needed to go to the bathroom and said he was given a personal belongings bag to relieve himself in.

"They just treated me like an animal eh," he said.

In a statement, police confirmed the man was given a bag as a toilet. Police said there were limited options available and while it was "not ideal " - officers were trying to balance peoples' safety with the need to give him an appropriate solution.