Permanent police presence at COVID-19 facilities

The government says there will be a permanent police presence at every managed isolation and quarantine facility in New Zealand from today, following this week's breach in central Auckland.

The government is now providing an update on its response to the COVID-19 epidemic and the management of isolation facilities for people returning to the country.

The news that police will be at the facilities 24/7 comes after a 32-year-old man who was later found to have COVID-19 yesterday left an isolation hotel in Auckland and was outside the facility for 70 minutes.

It is the second escape from isolation; on Saturday a woman at the Pullman Hotel got out by climbing over a fence and absconded for about two hours before being found nearby.

The minister in charge of managed isolation facilities, Megan Woods, said they had been working hard to build a safer, stronger exemptions process.

She repeated what the Minister of Health said yesterday saying: "Anyone who chooses to break out of these facilities is committing a reckless act of selfishness and we will come down on them with the full weight of the law.

"They don't deserve to join the team of five million."

She said nearly 30,000 New Zealanders have been through these facilities and have complied with the rules.

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