A man in New Zealand with COVID-19 escaped supervised hotel isolation to go supermarket shopping and take selfies on a 70-minute escapade around Auckland’s CBD.
The 32-year-old man, a New Zealand citizen and now the country’s latest coronavirus case, had arrived back from India on a flight from New Delhi to Auckland on July 3.
He skipped managed isolation at Auckland’s Stamford Plaza hotel on Tuesday night and took selfies in the aisles of a Countdown supermarket where he bought male grooming products.
The day after his walkabout, on Wednesday, the man tested positive to coronavirus and will face charges
Auckland’s Countdown Supermarket corporate affairs general manager Kiri Hannifin told Radio NZ the man spent 14 minutes doing “a lot of browsing in the health and beauty aisle” plus six more minutes wandering around.
He used a self-service checkout to purchase toothpaste, body wash and razors.
“He had a phone with him, and he was taking photos with the phone … Yes selfies, that’s right,” Mr Hannifin said.
The New Zealand Herald reported the man slipped through a gap of the hotel’s temporary external fencing trailed by guards who he eventually shook off.
Police were alerted and, despite an extensive search, couldn’t find him.
The man returned under his own steam to the hotel around 8pm
Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the head of managed isolation and quarantine, today said CCTV footage from within the supermarket has confirmed there was no close contact between the man and any staff or customers during his time there.
The man who absconded quarantine will be summonsed after he recovers from coronavirus to appear in court charged under New Zealand’s Public Health Response Act.