Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee has tested positive for COVID-19 after meeting other dignitaries from the region during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Thailand, the city government said on Monday.
Lee tested negative during the four days he was in Bangkok, but upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday he tested positive, the government said in a statement.
Lee is already in isolation and will work from his residence, according to a spokesman for the Executive Branch. The rest of the officials in his office who accompanied him to Thailand have all tested negative.
Lee’s aim at APEC was to promote Hong Kong’s image at a time when the city reopens to the world after implementing severe restrictions during much of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During his trip, Lee met several leaders, including Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. In some closed-door meetings, he sat next to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, both without masks. He also shook hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was wearing a mask.
On his first day, he greeted Xi at the Bangkok airport and was seen alongside the president as he entered the venue for the gala dinner that evening. On Saturday, Lee said that he had spoken with Xi and briefed the president on the status of Hong Kong.
In September, Hong Kong lifted its mandatory hotel quarantine measures for travelers arriving in the city in a bid to remain competitive and open up to the world. But new arrivals must undergo three days of monitoring at home. If they give negative diagnostic tests for COVID-19 after three days, they will be allowed to enter restaurants, bars and other establishments.
The measures for visitors in groups have been further relaxed as of last Friday. Those who apply and meet certain requirements may eat at designated restaurants for the first three days of their visit.
Lee said on Sunday that the removal of restrictions would be gradual and always taking into account the risks.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.