WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand authorities say they will press charges against a coronavirus patient who escaped quarantine in Auckland and went shopping at a supermarket.
Air Commodore Darryn Webb, the head of managed isolation and quarantine, said the 32-year-old man escaped through a fence at the Stamford Plaza hotel and was gone for just over an hour before returning. The man later tested positive for the virus.
Webb said the man was a New Zealand citizen who’d recently returned from India and his actions were “completely unacceptable.”
New Zealand has eliminated community transmission of the virus and is trying to contain cases at the border by placing new arrivals into a 14-day quarantine at various hotels.
Depending on exactly what charges are brought, the man could face a fine or a maximum of six months in jail if found guilty. Webb said that CCTV footage indicated the man had not been in close contact with others at the Countdown supermarket and had used a self-service checkout. Nevertheless, the supermarket has been closed for a deep clean.