Xi in fear of COVID-19 on transfer trip to Hong Kong

A Hong Kong lawmaker who appeared in a group photo with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) during his visit to the territory says he has tested positive for COVID-19, as Macau begins a new streak tests for the virus.

On his first trip outside mainland China since the pandemic began, Xi stayed in Hong Kong for less than 24 hours and only encountered quarantined people.

However, Steve Ho (何俊賢), a lawmaker with the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said on Sunday he had tested positive for COVID-19, a day after meeting Xi. .

Photo: AP

Ho said he tested negative for the virus on Thursday, when he and other local politicians met with Xi.

In footage released by the Hong Kong government, Ho was seen standing two rows behind Xi as the group had their photo taken. Participants were masked.

On Friday, Ho tested positive and refrained from attending events celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s transition from British rule to Chinese rule in 1997.

Hong Kong continued to have nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, but new chief executive John Lee (李家超) said he had no immediate plans for universal testing.

Universal testing should be done early or late in an outbreak, he said.

For now, he thought testing close contacts and people who had been in premises with confirmed cases was enough.

He also said there was no time limit to shorten Hong Kong’s seven-day incoming quarantine.

Meanwhile, in Macau, authorities yesterday launched a new round of testing for its more than 600,000 residents, as authorities raced to contain the worst outbreak to hit the world’s biggest gambling center since the start of the pandemic.

Macao has only one public hospital, whose services are already in demand on a daily basis.

The move comes as the former Portuguese colony reported 90 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 784 since the middle of last month. More than 11,000 people are in quarantine.

All non-essential government services are closed; schools, parks, sports and entertainment facilities are closed; and restaurants can only provide take-out services.

Casinos are allowed to remain open, but most employees have been asked to stay at home, in accordance with instructions given to residents of the territory. The government has said it will not close casinos to protect jobs.

The strict measures come after Macau has been largely COVID-free since an outbreak in October last year.

Additional Reuters reports

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. The final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.