Everyone at Wan Chai banquet to be quarantined

Health authorities on Friday said everyone who attended a birthday banquet at the centre of a growing Covid-19 scare – including about a dozen senior officials and 19 lawmakers – will be sent to the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre after a second attendee tested preliminary positive for the virus.

RTHK confirmed that an initial test for a programme host of its Putonghua service had come back positive.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the 53-year-old woman was at a party attended by 170 people at a restaurant in Wan Chai on Monday.

She arrived after 6pm, and ate and drank there for two hours, before she left after 8pm and returned an hour later to socialise with other guests.

That puts her at the party around the same time as a 37-year-old woman who tested preliminary positive for Covid-19 on Thursday and whose infection was confirmed a day later.

But Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the CHP said it is not yet clear whether the two women had come into direct contact, so the source of infection of the 53-year-old woman remained unknown.

Health officials also noted that people who attended the party – which ran late into the night – occasionally took off their masks to eat and drink. They said the attendees also walked around the venue during the banquet, so all of those present were classified as close contacts of the infected cases.

Among the 170 people being sent to quarantine are officials such as financial services chief Christopher Hui, police chief Raymond Siu and immigration director Au Ka-wang, as well as 19 lawmakers.

The CHP also reported one more preliminary-positive case without a known source. The patient is a 58-year-old woman who lives on Lockhart Road in Wan Chai, and works in various supermarkets.

In all, health authorities reported 33 new Covid infections, including 26 imported cases. They also reported more than 30 preliminary-positive cases.