The 44-year-old South Korean MERS patient who broke voluntary quarantine and flew into Hong Kong could face prosecution should he return there, according to an SCMP report.
The man, surnamed Kim, has been accused of giving false information when undergoing a medical check at the Hong Kong International Airport last week. He spent hours in the city before crossing the border into the mainland on bus, and was placed under isolation in Huizhou, Guangdong province after being diagnosed with Middle East respiratory syndrome.
“We are now seeking advice from the Department of Justice. If the [department] holds the view that the conditions and evidence are sufficient, we will consider taking legal action,” health minister Dr. Ko Wing-man said in the report.
Kim previously denied lying about his condition to officials at the airport, telling media that they had only asked him “Do you have any cold-like symptoms? Have you visited a hospital before coming here?” and “nothing about MERS”.
At a Legislative Council meeting today, lawmakers suggested that health officials enforce greater preventative action on flights, including body temperature checks before passengers board, although the current measures being taken are “more than the standards recommended by the WHO”.
Meanwhile, more than 1,300 people in South Korea have been placed under mandatory quarantine and over 700 schools shut down in an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly virus. A total of 35 people in South Korea have been infected, and two have died after contracting the respiratory virus.
The breakout began on May 30, when a 68-year-old man brought the virus to South Korea after traveling to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain last month.