Hong Kong police arrest a coronavirus patient who fled the hospital.
A 63-year-old coronavirus patient has been arrested in Hong Kong after his escape from a hospital isolation ward set off a frantic manhunt across the city.
Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese territory that is currently battling a fourth wave of infections, has strict quarantine and isolation requirements for people who contract the virus and their close contacts. Those who test positive, whether they are symptomatic or not, are sent to a hospital for treatment and monitoring until they test negative, while their close contacts are sent to quarantine camps for up to two weeks. Unbidden departures from quarantine and isolation facilities are illegal and can result in a two-month prison sentence and $645 fine.
The patient, Li Wan-keung, slipped away on Friday while doctors and nurses were occupied with other patients, the health authorities said. He evaded detection for 54 hours, even after the police released his name and photograph on their social media accounts.
Mr. Li was arrested on Sunday night and taken back to the hospital. A police representative said on Monday that the force received a tip about Mr. Li’s whereabouts and dispatched officers to arrest him.
Hong Kong courts have, as of Dec. 1, imprisoned or fined 76 people found guilty of violating quarantine orders. Government officials say that the prison sentences are intended to clearly signal their position of zero tolerance.
Hong Kong, a city of about 7.5 million people, has reported a total of 8,237 coronavirus cases and 130 deaths since the outbreak began.
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