A man spending his mandatory quarantine in an isolation facility managed to escape by tying his bed sheets together and abseiling out the window.
Everyone who enters New Zealand is required to self-isolate for two weeks as part of the country's coronavirus policy.
A number of hotels have been repurposed as managed isolation centres for recent arrivals, including the Ramada Suites in central Auckland.
However a guest at the facility seemed unimpressed with the accommodation and fled the building in dramatic fashion on Monday.
"This morning at approximately 8.20am, on-site security staff at the managed isolation facility at the Ramada Federal Street, located a number of sheets tied together hanging from a window of a fourth-floor room at the rear of the building," the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said in a statement.
"The police investigation is at an early stage, and initial indications are that this person has absconded by exiting via a fourth story window and climbing down a makeshift rope, which is clearly an extremely dangerous act."
However the would-be escape didn't get far — soon after reaching the ground he reappeared at the hotel's front gate where he was quickly apprehended.
"He was immediately taken into custody by police and he currently remains at the facility under questioning," MBIE said.
"Security at the facility has been reviewed and immediate improvements have been made following this incident."
An investigation is under way into whether man came into contact with anyone else during his brief period of freedom.
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MBIE said the risk of an outbreak following the escape has been "assessed as low".
"The man returned from Australia on a deportation flight on 16 September, and tested negative following his day three and day 12 tests," the statement said.
"He is on day 12 of his stay. He has been asymptomatic throughout his stay."
Police are currently reviewing local CCTV footage to figure out where exactly the man went during his excursion.
"While this person's exact movements are still being determined, immediate enquiries were conducted in the vicinity, which have not established any particular businesses or properties entered by the abscondee at this point," MBIE said.
"This person has put themselves and others at potential risk and their actions were unacceptable.
"Wilfully leaving our facilities will not be tolerated, and the appropriate action will be taken."
New Zealand has implemented strict lockdown measures since the beginning of the pandemic, and has recorded fewer than 2,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 25 deaths.
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