Those who breach Covid-19 rules in Hong Kong will have to pay: Carrie Lam

11/1/2022 11:56:00 AM

Those who breach Covid-19 rules in Hong Kong will have to pay: Carrie Lam

party hit by Covid-19 involving dozens of government officialsThere is also a separate probe into the behaviours of the government officials who joined the party.Mrs Lam said that the number of guests went “well beyond the capacity of this restaurant”. She added that the investigation will centre on whether the operator and the guests had complied with the public health requirements.

Mrs Lam added: “In a public health situation of this scale, the government has rolled out a lot of measures, a lot of regulations ... but there could not be 100 per cent compliance.”This has turned into public fury in recent days, when it was found that prominent people attended the party despite warnings from Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan days earlier against large gatherings .

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straits_times Wake up! Don’t be stubborn. Recognize your mistakes and change course. It’s not too late. Remove vaccine mandates. Remove a vaccine differentiated society. Don’t experiment on my kids. straits_times Well done, Carrie Lam. Keep it up. 😁🇺🇸🇯🇵🇮🇳🇦🇺🇹🇼

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sg/wM8E HONG KONG - Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (Jan 11) that all those who breached Covid-19 rules will be held accountable, as the authorities launched investigations and further tightened measures amid growing outcry over a party hit by Covid-19 involving dozens of government officials . Speaking at a weekly briefing, Mrs Lam said there were two investigations - one into the birthday party of Professor Witman Hung, a Hong Kong Deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress or Chinese parliament, and the other into carrier Cathay Pacific. About 8 per cent have received a third. There is also a separate probe into the behaviours of the government officials who joined the party. Fears over the existence of more so-called “invisible guests” at the party emerged after a 43-year-old woman who tested preliminary-positive was found to have attended the gathering last Monday without being on the guest list. So far, health officials said 214 guests, including 14 senior government officials and 20 lawmakers, had attended the Jan 3 birthday bash when the rules then allowed banquets of up to 200. There have since been more than 40 local transmissions of the Omicron variant, with more than 4,000 people considered close contacts sent into government-mandated quarantine, Lam said. Two guests were later found to have been infected. Lam appealed to the public to avoid large gatherings.

In interviews with local media and through leaked photos, some guests were found to have failed to use the LeaveHomeSafe app or wear their masks when not eating or drinking. The government had at least HK$4 billion (US$513 million) available for new economic relief measures, she said. The 43-year-old woman’s previously unknown link to the birthday party – she had gone to it with Wong – sent another local deputy to the National People’s Congress, Ma Ho Fai, into quarantine. Mrs Lam said that the number of guests went “well beyond the capacity of this restaurant”. She added that the investigation will centre on whether the operator and the guests had complied with the public health requirements. Two of the party guests tested positive for the coronavirus. As for Cathay Pacific, Mrs Lam said: “This has to be put under full investigation and we will take the legal action once we have the full evidence of what wrong it has gone into. “I knew both of them are very close, so at that moment I was alerted as well.” She noted that the probes are not meant to be “fault finding”, saying: “I hope people will move away from this talk about fault finding, who is a scapegoat or what. "This is the most unfortunate event because of the large number of people involved," Lam said, adding that the officials should have complied with her appeal for people to avoid large gatherings. Several more cases have been detected since and hundreds of close contacts have been sent into government quarantine facilities for up to 21 days.

” Mrs Lam added: “In a public health situation of this scale, the government has rolled out a lot of measures, a lot of regulations .. While he did not attend Hung’s party, he argued it would be difficult for the organisers to provide an exhaustive guest list given people could “come and go”.. but there could not be 100 per cent compliance.” She said there have been over 200 cases of non-compliance with home quarantine orders and most of these offenders received jail terms of between seven and 14 days. She warned of legal consequences for anyone who deliberately misled the investigation.

Like the mainland, Hong Kong adopts a zero-Covid approach backed by tough border controls that have largely cut off the city from the rest of the world. But its harsh quarantine rules of up to 21 days for inbound travellers and residents who are sent to quarantine camps had upset the community. This has turned into public fury in recent days, when it was found that prominent people attended the party despite warnings from Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan days earlier against large gatherings . New People’s Party lawmaker Judy Chan Ka Pui, one of the 20 lawmakers who attended Hung’s party, also said she believed it would be difficult for organisers to provide a complete guest list as invitees were not required to register beforehand. Among the guests were two ministers – Home Affairs Secretary Caspar Tsui and Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury Christopher Hui – and lawmakers of the newly formed Legislative Council, all of whom tested negative. The city saw a three-month streak of no community transmission broken on Dec 31, with the confirmation of its first local case of the Omicron variant.

The government including shutting of gyms and placing a ban on restaurant dining in after 6pm. But she added: “A lot of people did not wear masks as they were either eating or drinking. Cathay Pacific got roiled in the public outrage, particularly after an infected aircrew, who breached the company’s three-day quarantine rule and went out, sparked a cluster. In recent days, the criticism of Cathay Pacific has increased, with pro-Beijing papers Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po demanding action be taken against the airline and its management. But Ta Kung Pao had also warned against “over-interpretation” of the scandal-hit birthday party. Emil Chan Ka Ho, a member of the Smart City Consortium now quarantined in Penny’s Bay after attending the party, said the birthday debacle had exposed the inadequacies of the Leave Home Safe app, which only notified users who had been to high-risk areas but did not collate a list of who had visited a place at a certain period. Some residents have taken to social media to express their outrage, calling for heads to roll.

A local who works in a beauty salon and wants to be known as Ms Wong said: “The rich and powerful can get away with things while the rest of us suffer. It’s unfair but what can we do?” Beauty salons are among 15 types of establishments forced to close for two weeks from Jan 7. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he added they were relying entirely on the confirmed cases’ personal accounts of whom they had met and where they had been to conduct contact tracing. Another local in her 30s who wants to be known as Ms Lau said: “I’m disappointed as there is always double standards between public officials and residents. It doesn’t make sense.” Between Dec 30 and Jan 10, there were 354 confirmed cases, of which 312 were imported and 40 were linked to imported cases, said Mrs Lam, who defended the government’s aggressive quarantine rules. Three officials and four lawmakers, who remained at the party after 9.

She noted that the government now sends primary or secondary contacts of confirmed patients to quarantine camps. Mrs Lam also announced that in-person classes for kindergartens and primary schools will be suspended from Friday (Jan 14) until after Chinese New Year and that the city will expand its vaccination programme to children between the ages of 5 and 12. She also said that the government will be launching the fifth round of the anti-epidemic funding and details will be announced on Friday, along with a review of the social distancing rules. [[nid:561531]] Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor had earlier ordered an investigation into the conduct of the officials, expressing “deep disappointment” at their actions, singling out home affairs chief Caspar Tsui Ying Wai, who stayed beyond 9. Hong Kong has recorded more than 12,700 confirmed cases and 213 deaths since the start of the pandemic, numbers that are among the lowest in the world. More On This Topic .