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Two on the run after abandoning quarantine

2020-02-10 HKT 18:01
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  • Two on the run after abandoning quarantine
Candice Wong reports
Police were searching for two Hong Kong residents on the run after flouting quarantine rules introduced over the coronavirus outbreak, the government announced on Monday.

But it also said that those breaching the quarantine orders will be given a warning for a "first offence", or simply reminded to stay indoors.

Health Secretary Sophia Chan said that since the new measure was introduced on Saturday, a total of 1,193 people arriving from the mainland had been ordered to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

The majority of them are SAR residents and are staying in their own homes, she said.

She said authorities are using various means to check whether these people are complying with the quarantine orders, with 516 of them asked to share their live locations on their phones. Some 450 video calls had been made to those in quarantine and police had carried out 167 spot checks.

A total of nine Hong Kong people were found to have flouted the quarantine regulations so far. Police tracked down seven of them and warned them they must comply with the new rules.

Deputy Health Secretary Daniel Cheng said some people explained that they were sleeping when police officers called them or knocked on their doors, while others said they went out to shop for food and daily necessities.

But two people had not yet been found. Officials gave no details about the pair, other than they are SAR residents, but said the police were searching for them.

Chan warned that anyone who violated a home quarantine order could be sent to a camp instead.

“After we find them, of course we’ll remind them or give them some warnings that they should stay at home. If they don’t comply and we find it the second time, we’d have to give them these bracelets so we can further track whether they stay at home. If they still don’t comply for the third time, we would have no choice but to put them into our quarantine camps,” she said.

Despite suggesting people would be given more than one chance to comply with the quarantine order, Chan warned that those who breach the rules face a maximum jail sentence of six months, or a fine of HK$25,000.

Meanwhile, another five people in the SAR have tested positive for the virus.

Two belong to a family which had already seen nine infections following a hot pot dinner during Chinese New Year.

The others are a 69-year-old man, who hadn't travelled outside Hong Kong in the past two weeks, and his wife and mother-in-law.

Further tests had confirmed infections in two of the five new patients, bringing Hong Kong's official tally so far to 38.

One person in Hong Kong has died after catching the illness and four people were in a critical condition.