Hong Kong leader tests positive for Covid after meeting with Xi Jinping

Hong Kong’s chief executive has tested positive for Covid-19 just days after coming into contact with his boss, President Xi Jinping of China, at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bangkok. .

John Lee sitting next to xi in a meeting on November 18 and also standing next to him at an event on November 17, likely one of Xi’s closest known exposures to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. Translate.

China has followed a strict no Covid policy, regularly forcing millions of people to participate Quarantine and house lockdown despite the enormous economic and psychological costs.

Neither politician wore a mask the two times they met.

“[John Lee is] is in isolation,” the Hong Kong government said on Monday. Lee tested positive on his return to the Chinese territory on Sunday.

The news comes as confusion deepens over the future of China’s Covid-free policy, with any reopening closely watched by investors, who hopefully it will pave the way for an economic recovery.

Some cities experiencing outbreaks, such as the provincial capitals Shijiazhuang and Guangzhou, were the first allowed to impose less stringent restrictions but has since put in place stricter control measures.

Xi has only started going outside of China in recent months. The short trip to Central Asia in September was his first overseas trip since January 2020, when the virus broke out of central China.

The health of the top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party is a closely guarded secret. It is likely that Mr. Xi, who returned to China over the weekend, will not appear in public until the completion of the latest quarantine requirements, which include at least five days of self-isolation.

The Chinese leader’s weeklong trip to Southeast Asia for the G20 summit in Indonesia and the Apec leaders’ annual meeting in Thailand marked back to the global stage. He had a series of talks with his counterparts, including US President Joe Biden, as well as the leaders of France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Xi’s last infection was in June, when he visited Hong Kong to mark the Celebrating 25 years of establishment return sovereignty to China. A Hong Kong lawmaker, Steven Ho, took a group photo with Xi and later tested positive, but all of the people in the photo were wearing masks at the time.

Hun Sen, leader of Cambodia, tested positive for Covid-19 after hosting Southeast Asian leaders, Chinese premiers Li Keqiang and Biden shortly before the G20 summit.

Investors had hoped the Covid-free policy would be eased more since November 11, when China announced a number of measures, including reducing the number of quarantine days for incoming travelers and those people in close contact with Covid cases.

Shijiazhuang, a northern city not far from Beijing, has taken the lead in easing draconian restrictions. On November 13, the city moved from a total lockdown to reopening, including removing the nationwide Covid test and removing the requirement to present a negative coronavirus test result to enter buildings and Public transport.

However, Covid cases continued to spread among residents, and over the weekend the city government withdrew, imposing a new blockade. It also ordered thousands of students to return home from universities hit hard by the latest outbreak.

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