A Queenstown man who allegedly escaped from hotel quarantine in Hamilton has been has been sent to Spring Hill prison.

Martin McVicar, aged 52, appeared in the Hamilton District Court via audio visual link this afternoon where he faced a charge of intentional damage of a 52-inch TV and intentionally failing to comply with an order under the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 by leaving a managed isolation facility and purchasing alcohol.

Community magistrate Robyn Paterson denied him bail.

McVicar has been remanded in custody by the direction of Court today to Spring Hill Corrections Facility.

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The Department of Corrections says due to legislative obligations under the Privacy Act 1993, it is limited in what further specific information it can provide into this individual's management.

Neil Beales, acting Deputy National Commissioner, said people in prison who were quarantined were managed as if they had Covid-19 and had no contact with any other prisoners.

"In line with the advice of the Ministry of Health, staff are required to wear full PPE, including mask, gloves, apron and eye protection if a prisoner presents as having suspected or confirmed Covid-19."

Beales said there were currently no confirmed cases of Covid-19 among prisoners at any prisons, and the wellbeing and safety of prisoners, staff and the public remain the top priority.

Paterson said the man should have been aware of the legislation he was required to abide by.

Martin McVicar appearing via audio visual link at the Hamilton District Court after allegedly leaving isolation from a Hamilton hotel. Photo / Christine Cornege
Martin McVicar appearing via audio visual link at the Hamilton District Court after allegedly leaving isolation from a Hamilton hotel. Photo / Christine Cornege

She said she took into account the "huge public interest" in McVicar's case and said the rules around quarantine had been made "very clear".

She said the victims of McVicar's alleged offending were the rest of the country, fellow New Zealanders.

"New Zealand has gone through a very, very tough time and is still going through a tough time and made many sacrifices physically, mentally and financially," Paterson said.

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"The rules have been made very clear and the expectations extremely high that compliance with isolation be taken with absolute seriousness."

McVicar will reappear in court on July 15.

A New Zealander who recently returned from overseas has appeared in court after allegedly leaving the Hamilton hotel he was in isolation at and going to a wholesaler. Photo / Supplied
A New Zealander who recently returned from overseas has appeared in court after allegedly leaving the Hamilton hotel he was in isolation at and going to a wholesaler. Photo / Supplied

The defendant arrived from Sydney on July 1 and tested negative for Covid-19 on day three of his isolation stay, according to Air Commodore Darren Webb.

He was arrested after he allegedly cut through fence ties to break out of a managed isolation facility yesterday.

He allegedly absconded from the Distinction Hotel and went to a nearby liquor store, picking up a four-pack of European beer and red wine before leaving.

The man who served him at Te Rapa Brews earlier told the Herald he spent just two minutes in the store and knew exactly what he was after.

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"He walked in and bought a four-pack of Leffe Blonde and a pinot noir.

"I asked him how he was and he just said 'fine'," a staffer said.

He said the man paid by cash. Because of this, every single note and coin in the register had to be cleaned this morning.

The liquor store is roughly a nine-minute walk from the hotel.

Webb confirmed they had spoken to a liquor store on Te Rapa Rd and it had cleaned its premises as a result of the inquiries.

Third escape in a week

It was the third escape from an isolation facility in a week.

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On Saturday, a woman jumped two fences at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland shortly before 6.20pm but was soon found a couple of blocks away on Anzac Ave.

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She is due to appear in the Auckland District Court on Monday.

On Tuesday night, a man sneaked through a gap in the fence at the Stamford Plaza in Auckland and visited a Countdown Supermarket before returning 70 minutes later to the hotel.

Yesterday, Webb and Cabinet Minister Megan Woods said a review of the system had been completed and there would be a 24/7 police presence at all of the isolation facilities.