Man charged after allegedly leaving COVID-19 hotel quarantine in Tasmania

A 37-year-old man from Queensland has been charged after allegedly fleeing hotel quarantine in Launceston and spending about nine hours in the community.

The man will face Launceston Magistrates Court after allegedly climbing out of the window of his third-floor room at the Peppers Seaport Hotel’s quarantine facility and stepping down on the side of the building overnight.

The man, who police say flew to Launceston from Sydney on Wednesday without a valid travel permit, was found in the suburb of Newnham around 9am on Thursday.

In a statement, police said the man had “limited contact with members of the public”.

He has been tested for COVID-19 and the public health authorities are waiting for the test results.

The man’s vaccination status is unknown.

Prime Minister Peter Gutwein described the man’s action as “simply not acceptable”.

“When people come to Tasmania, there are rules, and although we can take every step to ensure that we can keep Tasmanians safe, in the end we do not run a prison system here in terms of hotel quarantine,” he said. .

“I will simply beg people to do the right thing, and as I said before, if the right thing is not done, I would expect the police to throw the book after him.”

Gutwein said there was a police presence at the hotel at the time, a change made after COVID-positive 31-year-old NSW man Tim Gunn allegedly fled from hotel quarantine in Hobart.

The incident is the second reported escape from the Peppers Seaport hotel since it became a hotel quarantine facility.

In February, a 38-year-old Victorian woman was charged by police after allegedly fleeing the facility, with footage circulating on social media showing her crawling down from an awning.

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