HONG KONG: A Hong Kong lawmaker, who posed for a group photo with Xi Jinping during the Chinese President`s visit to the former British colony on June 30 has tested positive for COVID-19, media reported. Steve Ho Chun-Yin, who stood one row behind Xi, on Thursday said that he tested negative when he attended the photo session during the celebrations. The lawmaker said that he tested mildly positive on Friday and had to be retested. He did not attend any of the handover anniversary celebration events that day, according to a statement on his official Facebook page.
He then tested positive for the virus on Sunday, CNN reported. Xi visited Hong Kong under strict security measures to mark the 25th anniversary of the city`s handover from Britain in his first trip outside mainland China since the outbreak of the pandemic.
China has thrown a media shield around Xi`s visit to Hong Kong and barred journalists from leading international media organizations. John Lee was sworn in as the sixth-term chief executive of Hong Kong, in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping, a move meant to signal that Beijing has the former British colony well under its control 25 years after taking over.
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His oath was administered by Xi, who was here to attend the meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong`s return to the “motherland” and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of Hong Kong, Xinhua news agency reported.
Chinese premier arrived in a city vastly transformed from three years ago, when millions took to the streets in the biggest challenge to Beijing`s rule in decades, reported New York Times (NYT).”Hong Kong`s `true democracy` started after the handover. China has acted `for the good of Hong Kong` and there is `no reason at all to change` One Country, Two Systems,” said Xi Jinping.
The fact that someone who came into contact with Xi tested positive for the virus will be seen as a blow to the Hong Kong administration, which has spent lot of time and resources preparing for the visit and trying to ensure it stays Covid-free. The border between Hong Kong and mainland China remains largely sealed because of the virus.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong on Sunday said that it will distribute around 290,000 sets of COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT) kits as part of a follow-up on the recent detection of the coronavirus in sewage samples.The test kits will be distributed to residents, cleaning workers and property management staff working in the areas with positive sewage testing results showing relatively high viral loads in order to help identify infected persons, reported Xinhua.