Megan Woods, the minister in charge of the quarantine and managed isolation facilities, assured the public this afternoon the facilities had robust systems in place after a woman escaped an Auckland hotel yesterday.
It comes as Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the head of managed isolation and quarantine, confirmed today a 43-year-old woman absconded from Auckland's Pullman Hotel on foot shortly before 6.20pm yesterday.
“Procedures were in place, that’s why she was found,” Ms Woods said.
Ms Woods said she was advised the woman was outside in a common area of the hotel where she was allowed to be when she “climbed a fence”.
“She didn’t simply wander out the door.”
Ms Woods wasn’t informed of any other cases of people absconding from managed isolation or quarantine facilities.
“We’ve always said that what we will guarantee is that we will have robust procedures. We’re asking individuals to follow the rules," she said.
“We are not setting up patrolled perimeters," she added, and said people needed to take personal responsibility.
“It is not easy to leave these facilities - walls have to be climbed.”
Police now have the woman in custody after she was found at 8pm a few blocks away on Anzac Avenue yesterday.
Commodore Webb said she returned a negative Covid-19 test on June 30, her third day in quarantine.
He said police would determine how she would be managed.
“Charges are being considered," he said.
Five police officers came into contact with the woman. As a precaution, they will self-isolate and be tested for Covid-19.
Ms Woods said contact tracing was still underway, and, from her knowledge, the woman didn’t go inside any other building while she was out of the hotel.
“I have great sympathy for anyone whose safety is potentially put at risk," she said.
In response to the abscondment, National leader Todd Muller has called the Government’s handling of the situation at the border “shambolic”.
‘It’s clearly unacceptable but, again, talks from what I can see to a lack of tightness around the border management,” he said.
“This country has been deeply let down.”
He said the Government could have spent the weeks in lockdown better preparing its border procedures.
“We’ve had more than the odd glitch…the sum total of that is a border management process that is a shemozzle.”