Hong Kong Chief Secretary John Lee is quarantining at home after a live-in domestic worker tested positive for Covid-19.

After returning a positive result for the virus using a rapid antigen test, the domestic worker will supply a deep-throat saliva specimen to the Department of Health for further testing.

John Lee
Chief Secretary John Lee on January 12, 2022. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The top official and his family members returned negative results from rapid antigen Covid-19 tests. Lee is in self-isolation at home, according to a government statement published on Tuesday.

Citing Lee’s spokesperson, RTHK reported that Lee and his family would also submit deep throat saliva specimens for tests.

Regina Ip isolating at home

New People’s Party chair Regina Ip is also isolating at home after her driver tested positive for Covid-19 using a rapid antigen test on Monday, the pro-establishment party confirmed on Tuesday. The driver has taken a deep throat saliva test and was awaiting the result.

Regina Ip Covid-19 vaccine
Lawmaker Regina Ip receives her first Sinovac jab in February. Photo: Legislative Council, via Flickr.

According to the statement, Ip has completed two rapid antigen tests, both of which returned negative results. Ip has received three doses of the Covid-19 vaccines.

After consulting Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan, Ip said she would work from home for five to seven days, during which time she will attend Legislative Council (LegCo) meetings online, the statement read.

Absent from online LegCo meeting

Lee was scheduled to attend a video meeting with the LegCo Finance Committee to discuss the government’s latest round of anti-epidemic subsidies on Tuesday afternoon. Instead, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau, attended in Lee’s place.

John Lee
John Lee. Photo: LegCo website screenshot.

Due to the city’s the worsening Covid-19 outbreak, LegCo announced last Thursday that meetings will be conducted remotely.

However, Lee was at the weekly Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday morning, according to Ming Pao.

Covid-19 task forces

Lee travelled to Shenzhen last Friday with a delegation of ministers to meet mainland officials and dicuss Hong Kong’s Covid-19 situation. Following the meeting, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Monday that five task forces would be established to work with mainland authorities in tacking the fifth-wave outbreak. Lee was appointed to handle the coordination of the five task forces and report to Lam.

covid test lei tung queue
A queue for a Covid-19 test in Lei Tung, Sha Tin. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP

Another 1,619 Covid-19 infections were recorded on Tuesday, all of which were local. Health authorities are also looking at around 5,400 preliminary positive cases, majority of which are backlogged from Sunday and Monday.

Seven designated clinics will open on Wednesday to offer medical services to Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms such as fever, coughing and sore throats. Patients must make reservations ahead of visiting the clinics.

The city has reported 26,670 Covid-19 cases and 223 deaths as of Tuesday.

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Hillary Leung is a journalist at Hong Kong Free Press, where she reports on local politics and social issues, and assists with editing. Since joining in late 2021, she has covered the Covid-19 pandemic, political court cases including the 47 democrats national security trial, and challenges faced by minority communities.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Hillary completed her undergraduate degree in journalism and sociology at the University of Hong Kong. She worked at TIME Magazine in 2019, where she wrote about Asia and overnight US news before turning her focus to the protests that began that summer. At Coconuts Hong Kong, she covered general news and wrote features, including about a Black Lives Matter march that drew controversy amid the local pro-democracy movement and two sisters who were born to a domestic worker and lived undocumented for 30 years in Hong Kong.