A police officer will be stationed 24-hours-a-day at every managed isolation and quarantine hotel from Friday, says the Government.
The increase in security follows a 32-year-old man’s escape from Auckland’s Stamford Hotel for 70 minutes on Tuesday night. A woman climbed over a fence at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel on Saturday before being found about two hours later.
“The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is needed to protect other New Zealanders from the risk they may present,” Megan Woods, the minister in charge of the Government’s managed isolation facilities, said.
“This behaviour is incredibly disappointing, but we are determined to maintain the freedoms we enjoy as New Zealanders in one of the few countries in the world who are free of community transmission of Covid.”
Twenty-four-hour police coverage would be in place at every hotel by tomorrow. Extra security staff would also be added to each facility and there would be increased use of security fencing.
Up to 28 hotels were being used at Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch and the Government was considering expanding the programme to Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown.
Woods said the Government’s exemption from isolation system was also being strengthened.
“Currently, people returning to New Zealand must enter managed isolation for 14 days, and return a negative Covid-19 test before they can leave into the community. However, there are a small number of exceptional circumstances in which people can apply for an exemption to leave a facility,” she said.
“These include medical exemptions which are granted in situations where a person’s serious health needs mean they cannot safely stay in managed isolation. Exemptions for other reasons have been suspended since 16 June while assessment, compliance and enforcement processes have been worked on.”
Woods added that a Covid-19 exemption team within the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment was being “established and a strengthened assessment process was being put in place”.
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