Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang and Director of the Chief Executive’s Office Eric Chan have contracted Covid-19.

Chan is set to become the city’s number two official on July 1, as incoming leader John Lee takes the helm. Both are now in isolation.

Erick Tsang. Photo: GovHK.

“Mr Tsang and Mr Chan last went to work on June 22 and June 20 respectively. They wore masks and followed relevant disease prevention measures at work, including rapid antigen tests conducted daily with negative results obtained. They have no recent travel history,” a government press release said on Thursday night.

Until Thursday, Hong Kong’s most senior officials have managed to evade contracting the disease.

Director of the Chief Executive’s Office Mr Chan Kwok-ki.

Customs chief Louise Ho – the wife of Tsang – was identified as a close contact but tested negative, the government said, adding that the offices of the two officials will be disinfected.

Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) Ricky Lau has also tested positive. He had been isolating with his wife since Sunday after she contracted Covid-19, a separate Thursday press release said.

July 1 festivities

It is likely the men will miss the July 1 Handover anniversary festivities, and the swearing-in of Lee as leader.

It is unclear if Lee or incumbent leader Carrie Lam may be close contacts of the infected officials. HKFP has reached out to their offices for comment.

Hong Kong registered 1,650 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, of which 128 were imported. One new related death was reported. In all, the city has seen 1.2 million infections and 9,397 deaths.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.