Hong Kong COVID-19 escapee captured by police after 54 hours

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/21 15:05:18

Pedestrians wearing face masks walk on a street in Hong Kong, south China, Dec. 19, 2020. Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection (CHP) reported 109 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, taking its total tally to 8,078. The new confirmed cases included 102 local infections, with 42 cases of unknown origin, according to a CHP press briefing.Photo:Xinhua

Hong Kong police have captured a COVID-19 patient who escaped from a hospital on Friday. The patient had been out on the streets for 54 hours before being brought back to hospital late Sunday night. 

Queen Elizabeth Hospital called police for help after the 63-year-old patient, surnamed Li, fled from an isolation ward at around 5 pm on Friday. The police later issued a wanted notice for Li and brought him back to the hospital after tracking him down Sunday night, the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) wrote on Facebook. Li was found with a face mask on. 

It remained unclear why Li fled the hospital. According to the hospital, Li had not been cooperative since being admitted on Dec 14, and had also tried to escape from isolation on Thursday but was stopped by hospital staff. 

Police said anyone who escapes quarantine could face a HK$5,000 ($645) penalty and up to two months' imprisonment. 

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is facing another wave of COVID-19 infections recently. The HKSAR had recorded 8,153 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, according to the government website. On Sunday, 74 new cases were reported, of which 25 did not have a known source of infection. 

Li is the first known case of a patient escaping from hospital in Hong Kong, and sparked a panic among the public. A Hospital Authority official said that he was in stable condition, but still had some symptoms and might pose risks to others. 

The hospital urged all patients receiving isolation treatment to follow the instructions of medical staff and said they should not leave the hospital without permission in order to protect their own health and that of the public.

It is not currently known where Li visited during the 54 hours he escaped hospital. 

Global Times

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