A Hong Kong lawmaker who appeared in a group photo with Xi Jinping during his visit to the territory said he had tested positive for Covid, as Macau launches a new round of coronavirus tests at scale from the city.
On his first trip outside mainland China since the start of the pandemic, the Chinese president stayed in Hong Kong for less than 24 hours and met only quarantined people.
But Steve Ho, a lawmaker with the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, revealed on Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid, a day after meeting Xi.
Ho said he tested negative for Covid on June 30, when he and other local politicians met 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.
Ho later tested positive on July 1 and refrained from attending events celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s transition from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
Hong Kong continued to have nearly 2,000 new Covid cases a day, but its new chief executive, John Lee, said he had no immediate plans for universal testing.
Lee said universal testing should be done at the start or end of an outbreak. 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 on Monday launched a new round of citywide Covid testing for its more than 600,000 residents, as officials raced to contain the worst outbreak to hit the biggest center in game in the world 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 mid-June. 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 offer takeout.
Casinos are allowed to stay open, but most employees have been asked to stay home, as instructed by city residents. 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 2021.