Isolation abscondee refuses to explain what he did on trip outside hotel

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jul 2020, 8:19PM
Stamford Plaza. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Isolation abscondee refuses to explain what he did on trip outside hotel

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 9 Jul 2020, 8:19PM

Listen to Anna Leask detail her interview with the abscondee with Heather du Plessis-Allan above

The man who has tested positive for Covid-19 after absconding from isolation to visit a central Auckland supermarket has questioned the evidence around his diagnosis and escape.

The 32-year-old says he feels "totally fine" but "very stressed" about the situation he is in.

The man who arrived from India on July 3 and, as is the rules, went straight into managed isolation at the Stamford Plaza Hotel.

On Tuesday evening he left the hotel without permission, slipping through a gap in the fencing and evading security staff.

He was away for 70 minutes.

Police have established that he spent about 20 minutes at the Countdown in Victoria Street West.

But it is yet to be confirmed by authorities exactly what he did in the 50 minutes before and after he went to the supermarket. The minister in charge of managed isolation and quarantine Megan Woods said he stood outside a store to tap into free Wi-Fi and made a 22-minute long phone call.

His Covid-19 test came back positive yesterday.

Police have confirmed he will be charged, and that he will receive a summons to appear in court at a later date.

Security at mandatory quarantine and isolation hotels are being reviewed as a result of the man's actions.

The Herald contacted the man this morning, who said he questioned the version of events around his escape and diagnosis, which was released by the Health Minister and police.

The man refused - repeatedly - to say why he left the hotel, what he did during the time he was away and what he thought of his diagnosis and the criminal charge he would face.

The man said he had been given "no evidence" that his Covid-19 test was positive.

When asked why he felt the could leave the hotel, he said several times: "No one told me anything".

Asked about his health, he said he felt "fine".

"I'm totally healthy and fine...," he said.

He said his reasons for leaving managed isolation were "different from the reasons" given by officials but he refused to elaborate on that despite being asked multiple times.