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 story : Hong Kong Birthday Bash Lands 30 Officials in Quarantine #WorldNEWS More than two dozen Hong Kong officials have been ordered to quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure, as a scandal over a large

@newsMNC 10 Days ago

Posted in: #WorldNEWS

Hong Kong Birthday Bash Lands 30 Officials in Quarantine #WorldNEWS
More than two dozen Hong Kong officials have been ordered to quarantine due to possible COVID-19 exposure, as a scandal over a large birthday party they attended despite the government’s own pandemic warnings widened.
All of the some 170 guests at a celebration thrown for a representative for a mainland Chinese agency were being sent to the government quarantine camp in Penny’s Bay, health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a press briefing Friday. Some of Hong Kong’s most senior politicians and more than 20% of its new “patriots-only” legislature will be confined to 200-square-foot (20-square-meter) rooms with no wifi access, just as the government fights an outbreak of the infectious Omicron variant.
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Some 30 government officials gathered Monday for the birthday of Witman Hung, a local representative for the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, despite government warnings to avoid mass gatherings. The celebration began at 6 p. m. as a dinner at a Spanish restaurant and then continued until about midnight, officials said Friday. The two guests who have since tested preliminary positive for COVID-19 weren’t at the party at the same time.
The details about the party came to light as more evidence emerged suggesting that the highly contagious Omicron variant was already spreading widely. Hong Kong now has at least three transmission chains and officials said they can’t rule out hidden clusters in the community.
A large outbreak would undermine Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s ability to maintain a COVID-zero strategy of eliminating the virus from the city’s borders. That policy has underpinned her goal of restarting quarantine-free travel with the mainland.
The scandal also risks feeding further public resentment against Lam’s Beijing-backed government, which has maintained some of the world’s toughest travel curbs, jailed scores of pro-democracy activists, forced newspaper closures and installed a new opposition-free legislature. It comes at an inopportune time for Lam personally, since she must soon decide whether she’ll seek China’s blessing for a second five-year term as leader.
Deeply Disappointed
Lam said on Thursday she was “disappointed” in the party-going officials while trying to sidestep personal blame, saying accountability “does not mean that I’m responsible of the decisions and actions of my colleagues. ” Earlier in the week, she took a harder line over alleged COVID-19 violations by Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. staff, arguing that “although the management may not be aware of all the actions that each employee takes, it’s not an excuse to not to be blamed.


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