Coronavirus: Man breaks out of quarantine facility in New Zealand for trip to the off licence

10 July 2020, 16:40 | Updated: 10 July 2020, 17:22

A man in New Zealand has been arrested after breaking out of quarantine to go to an off licence.

The man, in his 50s, is said to have cut through fence ties at the facility in Hamilton, leaving the premises for around half an hour.

People travelling into New Zealand are required to isolate for 14 days and are placed in designated hotel quarantines.

According to the government statement, the man had arrived from Sydney on 1 July and was isolating at Distinction Hotel when he broke out.

He is said to have tested negative for COVID-19 on his third day in quarantine, and was subject to another test on Friday, when he was due to appear in court.

The incident comes just a few days after another new arrival was caught breaking out of an isolation facility in Auckland, eventually to be found to have visited a local supermarket.

In a statement, air commodore Darryn Webb, the head of managed isolation and quarantine, said such actions were "unacceptable" and added that clear instructions had been given to people arriving into the country.

He added: "Isolation is a critical part in our defence against COVID-19, and it is up to each and every person entering this country to play their part and abide by the law."

Since mid-March, nearly 28,000 people have undergone the mandatory isolation in New Zealand.

It comes as the nation has eradicated community transmission of the virus, now focusing instead on imported cases.