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85 new Covid-19 cases found as runaway patient put back in isolation

22 December 2020

By The SUN 

Security has been beefed up in public hospitals to prevent patients from escaping  

Security has been stepped up in all public hospitals after a 63-year-old infected patient who escaped from his isolation ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Friday night was found two days after his caper.

Various media reports say the patient surnamed Li was found in Mong Kok, and was escorted back to the hospital at around 12am Monday. He is now in stable condition.

At today’s press briefing on the latest coronavirus situation, Dr Lau Ka-hin of the Hospital Authority said a police officer has been stationed outside the isolation ward, and security beefed up in other hospitals.

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“The Hospital Authority has asked all hospitals that have patients in isolation to review the current security measures, including assessing the risk of patients during admission…as well as enhancing the security measures when there is  a chance of abscondence…,” said Lau.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said in response to a question that authorities are trying to find out where the patient had gone during the time that he was missing. Police will do their own investigation before deciding whether to press charges against him.

Li being wheeled back to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (SCMP photo)

Chuang also reported that 85 new Covid-19 cases were recorded during the past 24 hours, seven of which are imported, and 78 were locally acquired. Of the local cases, 27 were untraceable.

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The imported cases included two foreign domestic workers from Indonesia, and one from the Philippines. The Indonesians, one 33 years old and the other, 37, flew in together on Dec 19 aboard Cathay Pacific Flight CX 796. The Filipina, who is 27 years old, arrived on Dec 8 via Philippine Airlines flight PR 300 and was found infected on her second test.

The other patients who tested positive shortly after arriving in Hong Kong are a 25-year-old female air crew of British Airways who flew in from London, and a returnee each from Ethiopia, India and Pakistan.

In announcing the number of confirmed cases during the past 24 hours, Chuang also said that mandatory testing will be ordered for residents of three more housing blocks after a spike in infections.

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The buildings were identified as Shek Wing House of Shek Lei Estate in Kwai Chung, Yat Lai House of Yau Lai Estate in Yau Tong, and Block A of Ming Wah Estate in Shaukeiwan. Everyone who had visited been to any of these housing blocks for at least two hours since Nov 25 is required to submit to a Covid test.

There are now a total of eight housing blocks where residents have been ordered to go for Covid tests.

Pressed on whether a partial lockdown could now be ordered amid the continuing rise in infections from housing estates, Chuang said, “In any gathering there is a risk of transmission. So people may want to reconsider a need for family gathering, especially big family gatherings.


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The biggest number of new linked cases were the four found in the Glow Spa and Salon cluster. There was also a new confirmed case from the Tai Po boarding house cluster, although it was not clear if the patient is an FDW or an employer’s family member.

Around 50 preliminary positive cases were also recorded.

Two more patients passed away - an 84-year-old woman who was in Tuen Mun Hospital, and an 82-year-old man in Princess Margaret Hospital. The two cases raised the virus-related death toll in public hospitals to 127.

There are currently 1,082 confirmed patients being treated in 23 public hospitals and the treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo. Among these, 63 are in critical condition, 70 are seriously ill, and 949 are in stable condition.

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