More to be quarantined after attending banquet

More people, among them officials and lawmakers, will be sent into quarantine after they went to a banquet attended by a woman who has since tested preliminary positive for Covid-19.

The banquet, which is said to be held to celebrate the birthday of local National People’s Congress deputy Witman Hung, was attended by about a dozen government officials on Monday evening.

Two of them, Home Affairs Secretary Caspar Tsui and the political assistant of the Development Bureau, Allen Fung, were sent into quarantine after they were identified as close contacts of the suspected patient.

Another senior official who was there, Director of Immigration Au Ka-wang, said on Friday he will be isolated at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre. He said he will fully co-operate with the arrangements made by health authorities.

In a statement, the immigration chief said he was at the banquet briefly, leaving immediately after congratulating the host without staying for the meal.

Au apologised for attending the event.

“Regarding the additional burden to the epidemic prevention work and the disturbance to the public as a result of my personal behaviour, I offer my sincere apology to all people of Hong Kong. I have reflected on this incident and shall be more vigilant in future,” he said.

Legco President Andrew Leung said 19 lawmakers attended the banquet.

Four of them – Duncan Chiu, Benson Luk, Rock Chen and Wendy Hong – will be sent into quarantine.

The other 15 have been asked to undergo testing and stay away from Legco facilities, until they receive a negative test result.

“All members have to be accountable to the public for their own behaviour or their own action,” Leung said when asked if lawmakers who attended the banquet should be held accountable.

It’s also been revealed that one of those lawmakers, Junius Ho, was among a group who met the director of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, in Shenzhen on Wednesday.

The Legco president said lawmakers who went to Shenzhen took several tests on Tuesday and Wednesday, and all came back negative.

Leung said he still plans to hold the first full council meeting next Wednesday, but it will depend on how the situation unfolds.

“Unless the Covid situation is becoming uncontrollable, or until the government decides that everybody need to work from home, I think within the chamber we have enough measures to conduct a meeting. There are so many things we need to monitor before a final decision can be made,” he said.