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Local man jailed 6 months for fleeing hospital after testing positive for Covid-19

05 February 2021

By The SUN 

Lee being taken back to hospital on Dec 20 (RTHK photo)

A 63-year-old man who ran away from Queen Elizabeth Hospital six days after being diagnosed with Covid-19 was sentenced to six months imprisonment today, Feb. 5.

Lee Wan-keung fled the hospital in Jordan at about 5pm on Dec 18 last year and was found by the police two days later near his house on Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok after a citywide search. He refused to say where he had been in the two days that he was missing.

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Lee, who was unrepresented, pleaded guilty at Kowloon City court. He said he escaped because he was afraid of needles, and asked that he be punished with a fine.

But deputy magistrate Tobias Cheng rejected his plea, saying Lee had been selfish and had ignored the safety of others by his act.

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Lee was prosecuted for violating Cap. 599A of the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation. Under sec 32 of the Regulation, a person who, knowing that he is a contact or has an infectious disease, expose others to the risk of infection by being present in any public transportation, street or place, may be sentenced to up to six months in jail and fined a maximum of $5,000.

A statement issued by the Department of Health said Lee was the second person to have been convicted in court for breaching the said Regulation.


The statement said the government “severely condemns such acts,” and vows to take resolute action against violators.


Parts of Sham Shui Po that were locked down overnight on Wednesday

Meanwhile, 37 new Covid-19 cases were reported today, all but three of which were locally acquired. Nine of the 34 local cases were of unknown sources.


Among those classified as a local case was a visitor from Shenzhen who was exempted from mandatory quarantine because he was holding a business visa. The man crossed the border on Jan 23 and tested negative on arrival. However, a subsequent test showed he was infected.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said a housewife declared as preliminary positive yesterday was actually a recovered patient.

The woman was among those put under mandatory testing issued for her housing block in Sham Shui Po. Subsequent investigation showed she was discharged from hospital only last Sunday after being treated for Covid-19.

As of 7pm tonight, two more buildings have been put under an overnight lockdown, under which residents are compelled to undergo virus testing and to wait for the results during a 12-hour period. Those locked down are a private estate in Yuen Long and a public housing block in Ma On Shan.

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Chuang revealed two more patients were found to have the more infectious coronavirus variant first found in Britain, bringing to 18 the number of such cases in Hong Kong. Two others were found to have the South African variant while eight other cases are still being investigated.

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As of 9am today, 588 confirmed patients are still being treated in 23 public hospitals and the treatment facility at AsiaWorld Expo. Among them are 24 patients in critical condition, 24 in serious condition and 537 in stable condition.

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