Hong Kong lawmaker who met China’s Xi tests positive for COVID

Xi was in Hong Kong to mark 25 years since the territory’s return to Chinese sovereignty.

China's President Xi Jinping arrives for the upcoming handover anniversary by train in Hong Kong, June 30, 2022
China's President Xi Jinping arrives for the upcoming handover anniversary by train in Hong Kong, June 30, 2022. Xi has arrived in Hong Kong ahead of the 25th anniversary of the British handover and after a two-year transformation bringing the city more tightly under Communist Party control. It is Xi’s first trip outside of mainland China in nearly two-and-a-half years [File: Selim Chtayti/Pool Photo via AP]

A Hong Kong lawmaker who met President Xi Jinping during a rare visit by the Chinese leader to the territory last week says he tested positive for COVID-19 two days after the meeting.

Steven Ho, who is part of the city’s largest pro-Beijing party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), tested positive for coronavirus on July 2 and has self-isolated, according to an announcement on his Facebook page on Sunday.

Ho said he had tested negative for the virus on June 30, the day he was shown in a photo with Xi, displayed by local broadcaster RTHK.

Xi was in Hong Kong to mark the 25th handover celebration of the territory to the mainland from Britain and swear in the city’s new leader John Lee. It was his first public trip outside the Chinese mainland since the coronavirus pandemic began.

In the run-up to Xi’s visit to Hong Kong, officials ramped up coronavirus testing and quarantine protocols along with a massive security force, blocking roads and the airspace around the picturesque Victoria Harbour.

China adheres to a “zero COVID” policy which aims to eradicate all outbreaks, at just about any cost, running counter to a global trend of trying to co-exist with the virus.

Xi’s visit to Hong Kong was his first since 2017, when he swore in outgoing leader Carrie Lam and stayed in the city for the duration of his trip.

During last week’s visit, he came into Hong Kong on Thursday and Friday but stayed overnight in neighbouring Shenzhen. The whereabouts this time, and the reasons why he may have chosen Shenzhen, have not been officially confirmed.

Source: Reuters