Xi Jinping in Covid scare during Hong Kong handover trip | Xi Jinping

A Hong Kong MP, who appeared in a group photo with Xi Jinping during his visit to the area, said he had tested positive for Covid as Macau launched a new round of city-wide coronavirus testing.

In his first trip outside of mainland China since the pandemic began, the Chinese president stayed in Hong Kong for less than 24 hours, meeting only people who had undergone quarantine.

But Steve Ho, an MP for the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, announced on Sunday that he had tested positive for Covid a day after his meeting with 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 photos taken. The participants were masked.

Ho later tested positive on July 1 and refrained from attending events marking the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s transition from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

Hong Kong continued to see nearly 2,000 new Covid cases a day, but its new chief executive, John Lee, said he had no immediate plans to implement universal testing.

Lee said universal testing should be done at the beginning or near the end of an outbreak. For now, he felt testing close contacts and people who had been on premises with confirmed cases was sufficient.

He also said there was no timetable to shorten the seven-day quarantine for entry into Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, officials in Macau on Monday launched a new round of city-wide Covid testing for its more than 600,000 residents as officials struggled to contain the worst outbreak to hit the world’s biggest gambling hub since the pandemic began.

Macau has only one public hospital, and its services are already overburdened 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 take-out food.

Casinos are allowed to stay open, but most staff have been asked to stay home, in line with guidance to city residents. The government 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.

With Reuters