Hong Kong officials test positive for Covid, casting doubt over Xi’s potential visit

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang and director of the Chief Executive’s Office Eric Chan each examined constructive by nucleic acid checks and are present process isolation, a Hong Kong authorities assertion mentioned on Thursday.

Their infections raised considerations over a possible go to by state leaders for town’s July 1 celebrations, which embrace the swearing in of Hong Kong’s new chief and the anniversary of its 1997 handover from British rule.

It additionally casts doubt on the robustness of town’s “closed-loop” association, which requires officers to keep away from public engagements and enter quarantine forward of the deliberate ceremonies.

As China sticks to a byzantine method of snap lockdowns, mass testing and quarantining to keep up its zero-Covid coverage, Chinese officers look like taking further precautions to not catch the virus.

Xi has not left mainland China because the outbreak of the pandemic greater than two years in the past. And though whether or not he’ll attend the handover ceremony stays a tightly guarded secret, the Hong Kong authorities has began to arrange for the arrival of a delegation of state leaders from throughout the nonetheless largely sealed border with the mainland.

Top Hong Kong officers entered the closed loop system on Thursday, below which they will solely journey between dwelling and work by non-public automobile and should spend an evening in a quarantine lodge on the eve of the handover anniversary. They are additionally topic to every day testing for Covid-19.

“Mr Tsang and Mr Chan last went to work on June 22 and June 20 respectively. They wore masks and followed relevant disease prevention measures at work, including rapid antigen tests conducted daily with negative results obtained. They have no recent travel history,” the federal government assertion mentioned.

The assertion made no point out of the 2 officers’ signs.

Chan is ready to develop into town’s No. 2 official on July 1, as incoming Hong Kong chief John Lee takes the helm.

Despite excessive vaccination charges and a discount in total circumstances, the Hong Kong authorities stays dedicated to its personal “zero Covid” type coverage, sustaining stringent social distancing and phone tracing measures, in addition to tight border restrictions — together with a compulsory seven day lodge quarantine for all arrivals.

Additional reporting by CNN’s Martin Goillandeau and Hannah Ritchie.

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