Covid-19: Two separate attempts to flee MIQ facilities in Hamilton and Auckland


A Covid-19 case fled a Hamilton MIQ facility this morning by removing a section of fencing and jumping into a waiting car, but were stopped by police a few minutes later.

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Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

It was one of two attempts to flee a MIQ facility in the past day, with another Covid-19 case running away from the entrance to the Holiday Inn at Auckland Airport last night. They were also caught within five minutes.

In a statement, Joint Head of MIQ Brigadier Rose King said every single event like this was “extremely disappointing”.

In the Hamilton incident, a person with Covid-19 fled from the Amohia Community Isolation Quarantine facility in Hamilton by removing a section of perimeter fencing at about 11.45am today.

King said the person was observed by MIQ Security during this time, and when they absconded in a waiting car ,they were soon apprehended a short distance away by police and are now in custody.

The person arrived at the facility on 27 October and were on day eight of their stay.

The Amohia is being used as a quarantine facility for positive Waikato cases. It has 110 rooms and there are currently 17 community cases there, occupying 16 rooms.

In the second incident in Auckland last night, a positive community case was arriving by shuttle at the Holiday Inn Managed Isolation facility at about 5pm when they fled on foot out of the open gate.

King said the fleeing person was observed by police and MIQ security the entire time and did not come in contact with anyone.

They were soon apprehended by police about 100 metres and were immediately returned to the facility.

A security guard has now been stationed outside their room.

King said while the cases were disappointing, the facilities were not prisons and staff were not prison guards.

“People don’t come into our facilities because they’ve broken the law, they come in because unfortunately they are community cases that have tested positive.

“It is hard to keep people in a facility if they are determined to leave. MIQ staff work really hard to ensure the safety and comfort of all members of our community currently staying at our facilities. Most recent absconders were caught very quickly thanks to our staff and our security measures.”

King said the overwhelming majority going through the MIQ system were doing their part to keep New Zealand safe, but deliberate breaches like this “can put the wider community at risk”.

There have now been 18 absconding attempts involving 24 people, with more than 186,000 people passing through managed isolation and quarantine.

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