A security guard stands inside the intensive care unit of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong on November 8, 2019. Philip FONG / AFP

A COVID-19 patient who escaped a Hong Kong hospital on Friday has been caught after a 54-hour, city-wide manhunt.

Li Wan-keung, 63, was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital last Monday, the South China Morning Post reported.

But on Friday, Li fled down a stairwell, hiding by wearing a jacket over his medical gown, police said.

Police captured Li in the Mong Kok district, located just over one mile away from the hospital, at 11 p.m. local time on Sunday. 

Li is back in hospital and is being monitored by a security guard, health authorities said.

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A COVID-19 patient in Hong Kong who escaped from the hospital has been caught by police after a 54-hour manhunt.

Li Wan-keung, 63, tested positive for COVID-19 on December 12 and was admitted to the city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Monday, December 14, the South China Morning Post reported.

But on Friday, Li – who had already been caught trying to leave his ward on Thursday – slipped out undetected, prompting police to set out on a city-wide manhunt.

He hid his medical gown under a jacket and exited the hospital via a back stairwell, the Hong Kong Police said in a Sunday Facebook post on Sunday. Li “was wearing patient clothing, dark blue coat, sneakers, and wearing a surgical mask,” the police said.

An unnamed city health official told the Post that Li “moved too quickly” for hospital staff to detain him, and that no guards or security cameras were monitoring his ward when he escaped.

Police eventually tracked Li down in Mong Kok, a district about a mile away from Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and detained him around 11 p.m. local time on Sunday, the force said.

A view of Hong Kong. DuKai photographer/Getty Images

“After confirming his identity, he was ordered to remain at the site and the area was cordoned off while waiting instructions from the Department of Health on where he should be sent,” a police source told the Post.

Li is now back in the hospital and given heightened security.

Story continues

“He was arranged to stay in the isolation ward and we have arranged security guards outside to prevent the abscondence again,” Dr Lau Ka-hin, the Hong Kong Hospital Authority’s chief manager of quality, said Monday, according to the Post.

Li is currently in stable condition, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

As a result of the escape, Hong Kong’s health authorities have also launched a review of hospital security measures, the Post said.

The police said on Facebook that the maximum fine for breaking quarantine rules is $645 and as much as two years in jail.

Hong Kong is experiencing a wave of new infections following a period of relative control, with 109 new infections reported on Saturday and 74 new infections reported on Sunday, according to city health data.

On Monday, city authorities announced that they would ban all flights arriving from the UK from midnight local time on Tuesday in light of a new coronavirus strain circulating southeast England.

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