In December 2002, the Supreme Election Board canceled the general election results from Siirt due to voting irregularities and scheduled a new election for 9 February 2003. By this time, party leader Erdoğan was able to run for parliament due to a legal change made possible by the opposition Republican People's Party. The AKP duly listed Erdoğan as a candidate for the rescheduled election, which he won, becoming Prime Minister after Gül handed over the post.
Liu Jianlun, Hong Kong's first patient, checked into the Metropole Hotel on February 21, with a room on the ninth floor, specifically room 911. Even though he was already feeling somewhat ill he visited with his family and travelled around Hong Kong.
An elderly woman, Kwan Sui-Chu returned to Toronto from Hong Kong after being infected by Liu Jianlun at the Metropole Hotel. She died at home on March 5, after infecting her son Tse Chi Kwai, who spread the disease at Scarborough Grace Hospital and then he also died.
The virus was carried to Hanoi, Vietnam by a fellow guest on the Metropole's ninth floor. A Chinese-American resident of Shanghai, Johnny Chen, had roomed across the hall from Liu at the Metropole. He travelled on to Hanoi, fell ill there, and on February 26, was admitted to the French Hospital of Hanoi where he infected at least 38 of the staff there.