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Statement On Hamilton MIQ Absconders

The Minister in charge of Managed Isolation and Quarantine facilities Megan Woods has condemned absconders from a Hamilton facility, saying they are putting New Zealanders at risk.

Five people absconded from the managed isolation facility this evening; an adult and four children. Four have been apprehended and are under Police supervision. One person remains at large.

A routine police patrol as part of security arrangements in place at all facilities meant apprehensions happened quickly.

“The speedy apprehension of four of the absconders highlights the importance of the Police presence at our facilities,” Megan Woods said.

“This is incredibly irresponsible behaviour by this group. Our only chance of stopping community transmission of COVID-19 is by containing all potential cases at the border, and we are doing this successfully through our managed isolation system.

“People absconding from facilities before they have completed their isolation and returned negative Day 12 tests are endangering the health of other New Zealanders and our COVID free status in the community.

“Everyone has to play by the rules. These people knew the rules and chose to break them and will now face the consequences.

“While this group all tested negative on Day 3 there is no room for complacency. Earlier this week, a person who had a negative test at Day 3 later had a positive case at Day 12. We will be re-testing this group and anyone they came into contact with.

“All returnees need to be considered at risk of carrying COVID. Internationally this pandemic is growing not slowing and we constantly review these cases to see if there are any further improvements we can make to ensure people are not breaking out,” said Megan Woods.

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