No place of public interest associated with the MIQ escape



There is no public place of interest associated with the man who escaped controlled segregation this week, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson confirmed.

Robertson and Director of Public Health Dr. Caroline McElnay hosted today’s Covid-19 update.

Watch the update here:

Robertson began today’s briefing with more details on the movements of the man who escaped the MIQ in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The man – who was first tested as a close contact from another case – was told of the positive result at 1:22 p.m. on Wednesday. At 3:37 p.m., he was contacted by public health and agreed to be transferred to MIQ, which happened at 6:18 p.m.

CCTV showed him leaving his room before leaving the facility at 1:07 a.m.

He then walked home, but there was no contact with the others “as far as is known,” said Robertson.

Police and defense personnel checked his room when alerted mid-morning Thursday.

They then went to his home and took him into police custody at 2:05 p.m.

Robertson said the advice was that there was a low risk to public safety during the incident.

Asked what the Prime Minister knew during yesterday’s Covid-19 briefing, he said there was information about an active police operation underway. Letting the police do their job rather than disclosing details was the right thing to do, he said.

He cannot answer whether or not the person was actively monitored by CCTV.

There is an increased staff presence when a facility is a quarantine facility, Robertson says.

“The point is, we already have these facilities as secure as possible, but of course we’ll take a look and see how it goes.”

“Every facility has high levels of security. Obviously, something has gone wrong here.”

Police officers closely involved in the man’s arrest have been vaccinated or partially vaccinated, Robertson said.

When a person enters the MIQ, a risk assessment is carried out. The investigation will determine if there was a communication breakdown related to the escapee’s risk report.

There were 28 new community cases of Covid-19 reported today, compared to 49 new cases reported yesterday.

Alert levels and lockout support

Robertson says he would not anticipate decisions to move the South Island to Alert Level 2.

A move down one level would happen as quickly as possible, says Robertson.

He says Alert Level 2 settings are yet to be discussed.

If advice to Cabinet on Monday suggests the South Island could go down a level, then Cabinet will discuss additional measures that could be included to alert Level 2.

He also says it’s “so important” that the Aucklanders stick to the rules.

Testing of workers crossing the Auckland border is something the government “wants to see happen”.

Work is underway to make this happen and disrupt the movement of good as little as possible, Robertson says.

This will require a “high level of cooperation and collaboration”.

Robertston also spoke of economic support during the lockdown.

He says $ 1.5 billion in support was paid in the first two weeks of the lockdown and that the IRD had approved nearly 150,000 payments under a business support program.

Ministers had agreed to change the restrictive parameters of the resurgence support subsidy. Companies can apply according to the new criteria from next week.

As for the wage subsidy, 242,600 payments have been approved this outbreak, Robertson said.

Applications for the second half of the grant opened today.

Robertson met with the New Zealand Bankers Association yesterday to discuss support for small businesses.

There was no need for a government-backed mortgage referral program at this time, he said.

Robertson said that when it comes to the economic impacts of the lockdown, it’s worth remembering that we’ve been through one before and have recovered.


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