A man in his 50s has been arrested after escaping a managed isolation facility in Hamilton yesterday.
It's believed he cut through ties on the 1.8-metre-tall fence to escape the Distinction Hotel, and was gone for at least half an hour between around 6.30pm and 7pm, Air Commodore Darryn Webb says.
He went to a liquor store on Te Rapa Road, which is adjacent to the hotel. Police say the business has cleaned its premises since and no one entered the store this morning.
The man tested negative for Covid-19 on his day three test, after arriving from Sydney on July 1, with the results of a second test today still pending.
He's due to appear in court today, according to Mr Webb.
Mr Webb says the health risk is "very low".
"A review of CCTV footage at the managed isolation facility has confirmed there are no close contacts," he said in a statement today.
"Investigations at this point also indicate there were no close contacts outside the facility."
It comes after another breach in Auckland this week, where a man allegedly escaped an isolation facility in Auckland and went to a supermarket. He tested positive for the virus the next day.
Also in Auckland, a woman allegedly escaped another isolation facility on Saturday, and was loose for more than an hour before being tracked down.
Both have been charged.
Mr Webb says the escapes are "completely unacceptable".
"Returnees are given clear instructions and information about what their responsibilities are. Managed 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."
People charged with escaping the isolation facilities face up to six months in jail or a hefty fine.