Update: Absconding incident at managed isolation facility, 28 September

Published: 29 September 2020

An investigation into the alleged absconding incident at the Ramada Federal Street managed isolation facility in Auckland is ongoing.

Statement from Air Commodore Darryn Webb, Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine

An investigation into the alleged absconding incident at the Ramada Federal Street managed isolation facility in Auckland is ongoing.

CCTV footage viewed as part of the investigation has established the man was on foot in Aotea Square at approximately 1.00am Monday morning, 28 September. Enquiries have established the man likely absconded shortly after midnight before returning to the facility on foot at 8.24am. The matter is still under investigation and some details about his movements are yet to be confirmed.

The man has been viewed on CCTV walking in parts of Auckland, from the central city to Newmarket, Epsom, Onehunga and Mt Albert before returning to the facility on Federal Street.

He has tested negative twice for COVID-19 and health officials have determined the incident to be of low public health risk.

Security improvements at the facility will be made and include the installation of additional CCTV cameras as well as extra lighting at the likely point of the man’s alleged exit.

The method of exit is still under investigation, but early indications are that the absconder broke the security latch on his window to force his way out.

Police have reviewed a range of CCTV footage, interviewed the absconder under strict COVID-19 protocols, conducted a preliminary scene examination at the facility and spoken with staff.

The man has not been charged at this point.

We must reiterate that Auckland Regional Public Health Service advises the COVID-19 health risk has been assessed as low.

The man returned from Australia on a deportation flight on 16 September.

While this sort of incident is extremely frustrating, it is rare.

There have been more than 55,000 people through managed isolation and quarantine and only nine incidents (involving 13 people) absconding from managed isolation.

Again, the public health risk of this incident has been assessed by health officials as low, but anyone who has concerns about their health should call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

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