A pair has been charged with escaping the MIQ facility, and a third person has turned herself in.

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Three people with Covid-19 are said to have escaped from an Auckland-managed isolation facility in two separate incidents, and one of those who escaped has turned herself in.

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Sign on fence outside isolation facility (file photo). Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

The woman – who left her south east Auckland home last night while being escorted by MIQ security has handed herself into police.

The woman is now being transported by police in full PPE back to the Auckland District Custody Unit in Mt Eden to appear in the Manukau District Court tomorrow.

She has been charged with failing to comply with a health order (Covid-19) and will appear in court at a later date.

In the first incident, two men left the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport Hotel managed isolation and quarantine facility about 5.40pm yesterday.

The pair, both community cases, were observed by police and MIQ security the entire time and caught about five minutes later.

One was on day six of their stay and the other on day seven.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with failing to comply with a Covid-19 health order and will appear in Auckland District Court via video link today.

A 33-year-old man will be summonsed to appear in court at a later date.

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The Ministry of Health believes there is likely to be a low risk to the public from the short period that the pair were out of the quarantine facility.

In the second incident at about 9.55pm, the woman positive with Covid-19 who escaped, had arrived directly from hospital and requested to return home briefly to retrieve personal items, care for a pet and lock her house.

A security escort was set up and they were given 10 minutes to do what she needed to, Head of MIQ Brigadier Rose King said in a statement.

When the security detail went to retrieve her at the 10 minute mark they found she had disappeared from the house.

In a statement, King said these incidents were disappointing and unacceptable.

“These facilities are not prisons and these individuals have wilfully absconded.

“Deliberate breaches like this can put the wider community at risk.”

The Holiday Inn Auckland Airport Hotel is a dual managed isolation and quarantine facility, with 168 quarantine rooms.

There are currently 142 community cases there, 131 of them are in quarantine.

At today’s media briefing, where it was revealed there were 60 new community cases, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said these acts of breaking the rules did not pose any concerns to him regarding allowing people to isolate at home.

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“My understanding is that two of the absconders scaled the fences. They were spotted doing that, in less than five minutes, they were watched the entire time they were out. So the system worked that it should there.

“My understanding is that with the third unrelated case this was a person who was giving permission to return home to collect some belongings to care for a pet. During that time they were escorted in entering their home and after 10 mins they did not return … We will still be applying a risk-based approach to the management of Covid-19 cases in the community.

“So those higher risk cases, particularly when we are not confident that they’ll be following the rules, we still have the ability to move them into MIQ. In other cases where it was low risk and people are following the rules and they can safely isolate at home, that is actually the better place for them to be isolating.”


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