Judith Collins calls on Jacinda Ardern to 'explain herself' over handling of alleged escapee with COVID-19

An investigation has been launched into how a COVID-19 case was able to break out of quarantine and be on the run for more than 12 hours. 

The 23-year-old male had only been in quarantine for a matter of hours before allegedly making a run for it.

He received his positive result at 2:21pm on Wednesday, but after being told to stay home he left, and dropped off a car at his mates before being busted by police.  

He was then dropped at the Ellerslie managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility, where he left his room three times in five hours.

On his last exit, he allegedly found a fire escape and then hid in the bushes from security guards, before scaling two fences and bolting.

"We have been advised that there is no risk to public safety from what has happened here," Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told a press conference on Friday. 

"It doesn't make what happened here right, but I do want to reassure people that we've gone back over that situation and assured ourselves of that."

That's because he walked the 10km journey home to Ōtāhuhu in the middle of the night. The Government says he came into contact with no-one. 

Ōtāhuhu residents are still upset he was able to come back into their community with Delta. 

"He's stupid aye, stupid man," one person told Newshub, while another local described the man as "reckless". 

"It's shocking," another said. "It's not fair on everybody, you know?"

And locals were disappointed they weren't told sooner.

"They should've let everyone know," one person said, echoed by another who said: "We should know."

"It's the safety of everyone we have to weigh," said another. 

Because Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern knew about it before her 1pm press conference on Thursday and didn't say a thing, leaving the deputy to run defence on Friday. 

"I think she should be fronting today to explain herself," said National leader Judith Collins. 

Robertson said there was "a variety of details" coming forward at the time. 

"But none of it would trump the fact that the police were still involved in an active operation and we need to leave the police to do their job."

Brigadier Rose King, joint head of MIQ, was equally unapologetic. 

"I don't think it's about an apology. The key thing here is me doing my job to make sure we're protecting New Zealand the best that we can," she said. 

There was no apology, and possibly no repercussions either.

"From my perspective, we need to do this investigation and actually find out what happened," said Brigadier King. 

"I'm not going to speculate on things that I do not know about, and until we have that information we won't be able to make informed decisions."

A MIQ failure is what led to our current 764-case Delta outbreak in the first place.

To be followed so hot on the heels by this monumental botch-up hardly endears trust in the Government's ability to keep the country safe with Delta.