Press Releases in Hong Kong

At least 10 govt officials among 170 party guests to be isolated

A man reads a notice outside Tseung Kwan O Public Library that is closed from Jan 7 to Jan 20 to curb the spread of the virus in Hong Kong, Jan 7, 2022. (CALVIN NG/CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – All 170 guests of a birthday party attended by senior government officials and lawmakers will be sent to the quarantine center after one more guest tested preliminarily positive on Friday.

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The party, thrown for Witman Hung Wai-man, a representative for Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, was attended by at least 10 government officials and 20 lawmakers.

A guest of the Jan 3 party — a 53-year-old woman who works in the media field — tested preliminarily positive, Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection's Communicable Disease Branch, said in a briefing.

Friday's announcement means other senior government officials who had attended the party, including Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu Chak-yee, ICAC Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu and Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui Ching-yu, will need to be quarantined

The woman arrived at the party venue — a Spanish restaurant in Wan Chai — at around 6 pm. She ate and drank there before leaving at around 8 pm and returning an hour later to socialize with other guests. 

She eventually left at around 9:30 pm, when a 37-year-old woman who tested preliminarily positive on Thursday showed up. The infection of the younger woman was confirmed on Friday.

Chuang said the two women did not know each other and the authorities cannot determine whether they came into direct contact. The 37-year-old stayed for around 45 minutes and left the venue at around 10:15 pm. 

As the two women combined had extended attendance at the party, the authorities said all guests would be sent to quarantine. 

Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui Ying-wai, along with four lawmakers, have already been sent to the government's Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre as they showed up at the party at around the same time as the 37-year-old infected woman. 

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Director of Immigration Au Ka-wang, who claimed to be at the banquet briefly and did not stay for the meal, confirmed earlier on Friday that he would be isolated at Penny's Bay.

Hung, principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the authority managing the Shenzhen's Qianhai free trade zone, has also been put under quarantine.

Friday's announcement means other senior government officials who attended the party, including Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu Chak-yee, ICAC Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu and Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui Ching-yu, will need to be quarantined. 

A man buys takeaway food at a Chinese restaurant in Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong, Jan 7, 2022. Restaurants are prohibited from providing dine-in services after 6 pm from Jan 7 until Jan 20 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (CALVIN NG/CHINA DAILY)

33 new cases

Hong Kong reported 33 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, including seven local cases. Twenty-seven cases were likely to be Omicron infections.

Six of the seven local cases were linked to the infected mother of a Cathay Pacific flight attendant and the remaining one was related to the "Moon Palace" cluster

Six of the seven local cases were linked to the infected mother of a Cathay Pacific flight attendant and the remaining one was related to the "Moon Palace" cluster.

The 62-year-old mother has already infected at least 13 people in the community, leading to at least three transmission chains with a second-generation transmission, Edwin Tsui Lok-kin, controller of the Centre for Health Protection, said in the same briefing. 

He called on members of the public to avoid crowded places and to get vaccinated as soon as possible as silent transmission chains may already exist in the community. "Members of the public should stop all unnecessary gatherings" including those with friends, he said.

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The 26 imported cases included two aircrew members arriving from Germany. The remaining involved seven travelers from the Philippines, five from the US, another five from Germany and eight arriving in Hong Kong via Doha.

The city's infection tally stood at 12,865, including 140 with Omicron variants.