A 63-year-old Covid-19 patient was returned to Queen Elizabeth Hospital late on Sunday evening after he escaped from his isolation room last Friday. Li Wan-keung was located after a 54-hour manhunt by police.

Li “ran out of the isolation ward” after leaving his isolation room on Friday evening, according to a Hospital Authority spokesperson. He had not shown any sign of abnormal behaviour prior to his escape.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Wikicommons.

Li’s specific whereabouts within the 54-hour period remain unknown. He had been admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital last Monday after testing positive for the virus.

The patient remains in a stable condition after his return to hospital.

The Hospital Authority has vowed to consider tightening security measures at public hospitals after it emerged that no security guards were posted outside the isolation ward and CCTV cameras were not in operation during Li’s escape.

Li Wan-keung.

The authority has also urged confirmed Covid-19 patients to cooperate with hospital staff and receive appropriate treatment in order to “minimise the risk of transmitting the infection to the public.”

‘Avoid social gatherings’

The incident comes amid the city’s fourth wave of infections as the city enters the cold winter months. The city reported 109 new infections on Saturday and 74 infections on Sunday.

Photo: Kaiser/HKFP.

Centre for Health Protection Head of Communicable Diseases Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan called on the public to not become complacent against virus protection, saying the slight drop in numbers do not indicate an easing of the fourth wave. “We cannot look at individual daily numbers… although we hope the fourth wave will ease, this will take some time.”

Authorities have also urged members of the public to avoid social gatherings as much as possible and maintain social distancing in the upcoming holiday season to curb the spread of the virus.

Hong Kong’s infection toll reached 8,153 on Sunday, with 130 deaths. Of Sunday’s new infections, 70 were locally transmitted while 25 came from an untraceable source.

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Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.