New Zealand quarantine debacle sees a FOURTH escapee break out of isolation


New Zealand quarantine debacle sees a FOURTH isolation escapee as a man breaks out of a hotel and knocks on locals’ doors in the middle of the night

  • A person in their 60s was the latest to break out of quarantine in New Zealand
  • The individual smashed a window and knocked on three local residents’ doors 
  • Police found the escapee shortly after midnight and returned them to isolation 
  • It was the New Zealand’s fourth quarantine escape incident in just one week 

Another returning traveller in New Zealand has busted out of the country’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period, marking it the fourth time a breach has occurred in just the past week.

A person in their 60s was the latest to break out of their guarded hotel confinement after smashing a window in the middle of the night.

The individual then fled the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre in Mt Wellington and knocked on three local residents’ doors.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) speaks to the media during a press conference on July 10

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured) speaks to the media during a press conference on July 10

‘The first property did not answer,’ head of New Zealand’s managed isolation and quarantine program Air Commodore Darryn Webb said.

‘The second property called 111 (New Zealand emergency services phone number). At the third property the individual apparently spoke to a couple.’

Police arrived on the scene shortly after midnight and immediately sent the wandering return traveller back into isolation.

Mr Webb said the individual had previously tested negative to COVID-19 days earlier and that there was ‘very low’ risk to the public.

An individual in their 60's fled the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre in Mt Wellington in Auckland (pictured) and knocked on three local residents' doors

An individual in their 60’s fled the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre in Mt Wellington in Auckland (pictured) and knocked on three local residents’ doors

The individual is now being offered health and welfare support.

The bizarre episode followed an equally strange incident on Thursday when a man in his 50s allegedly absconded from the Distinction Hotel in Hamilton to stock up on alcohol.

‘He walked in and bought a four-pack of Leffe Blonde and a pinot noir,’ a staff member at the Te Rapa Brews bottle shop told the NZ Herald.

‘I asked him how he was and he just said fine.’ 

Martin James McVicar (pictured), 52, appeared in Hamilton District Court on Friday accused of breaking out of his quarantine hotel to visit a nearby liquor store on Thursday evening

Martin James McVicar (pictured), 52, appeared in Hamilton District Court on Friday accused of breaking out of his quarantine hotel to visit a nearby liquor store on Thursday evening 

McVicar allegedly left the Distinction Hotel (pictured) in Hamilton, on New Zealand's North Island, through a fire escape and cut through fence ties on a 1.8-metre fence

McVicar allegedly left the Distinction Hotel (pictured) in Hamilton, on New Zealand’s North Island, through a fire escape and cut through fence ties on a 1.8-metre fence

McVicar allegedly visited the Brews Te Rapa (pictured) bottle shop and purchased a four pack of beer and a bottle of wine before returning to the hotel between 6.30pm and 7pm

McVicar allegedly visited the Brews Te Rapa (pictured) bottle shop and purchased a four pack of beer and a bottle of wine before returning to the hotel between 6.30pm and 7pm

Although the man tested negative for coronavirus, there was another instance were an infected arrival was outside his managed isolation facility for about 70 minutes.

On Tuesday, a 32-year-old who arrived from India snuck out of the Stamford Plaza in Auckland to go to a busy shopping centre.

A guard wearing a full face mask is pictured at the Stamford Plaza after incidents where guests who were in mandatory quarantine were able to escaped managed isolation

A guard wearing a full face mask is pictured at the Stamford Plaza after incidents where guests who were in mandatory quarantine were able to escaped managed isolation

The man had escaped through a hole in a fence while having a cigarette in a smoking area. 

‘The only thing we are asking them in return is to follow the rules. This person did not follow the rules,’ New Zealand Health Minister Chris Hipkins said.

‘It is completely unacceptable that we have now had two people let everybody else down by breaking the rules, leaving facilities and putting New Zealanders at risk.

‘These are acts of selfishness that we intend to use the full weight of the law to stop.’

Last Saturday, a similar incident occurred when a 43-year-old woman jumped two fences at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland.

She was found a few blocks away after an hour and 40 minutes.

Commodore Webb said charges will be brought against any individual who breaches quarantine laws.

The maximum penalty for breaking New Zealand’s COVID-19 managed isolation regulations is a six-month jail sentence or a $4,000 fine.

Security close the gates outside the Stamford Plaza on July 10 in Auckland, New Zealand

Security close the gates outside the Stamford Plaza on July 10 in Auckland, New Zealand

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Manoj Prajapati

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