Hong Kong’s John Lee has tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Thailand. He is now undergoing quarantine, the government announced early Monday morning.

Hong Kong's John Lee with Thai President Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Hong Kong’s John Lee with Thai President Prayut Chan-o-cha. Photo: APEC 2022 via Flickr.

He returned to the city from a four-day trip to Bangkok on Sunday night and underwent a polymerase chain reaction test at the airport upon his arrival. The test came back positive, the Chief Executive’s Office announced on Monday. Lee’s rapid antigen test (RAT) results were all negative during his time in Thailand, the office added.

Health authorities, meanwhile, are assessing whether other staff who travelled to Thailand with him are close contacts. They tested negative but will work from home before an evaluation is completed.

Lee has also met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during his stay in Thailand – both were photographed without wearing a mask during the summit.

Mild fever

The Chief Executive’s Office released a second statement on Monday afternoon saying Lee was experiencing a mild fever and a sore throat. He was “a bit tired” but doing alright, the statement added. He has been prescribed antiviral drugs.

The government also said Lee would not assign an acting chief executive while he is undergoing isolation, and will work from home and attend meetings via video if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection have assessed eight public officers who travelled to Thailand with Lee, two of whom were considered close contacts. They were Carol Yip, who is the Director of the Chief Executive’s Office, and Priscilla To, Lee’s private secretary.

Both Yip and To are now undergoing home quarantine and have tested negative so far.

Hong Kong has seen 2.03 million cases since the onset of the pandemic, and 10,599 deaths, according to the government’s Covid-19 dashboard.

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Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.