Those sent to the isolation camp included the Minister of the Interior Caspar Tsui and the Director of the Immigration Bureau Ou Jiawang.
On Friday, dozens of senior Hong Kong officials and politicians were ordered to quarantine after health officials discovered the second preliminary coronavirus case at a birthday party attended by many Hong Kong political elites.
Zhuang Shujun of the Hong Kong Health Protection Center said: “All people attending the gathering need to be quarantined.”
On Thursday, the Minister of the Interior Caspar Tsui was sent to an isolation camp after he was deemed to have had close contact with a potential carrier.
By Friday, four other politicians and Immigration Director Ou Jiawang joined him-they all attended a birthday party held in a snack restaurant on Monday.
“I sincerely apologize to all Hong Kong people. I have reflected on this incident and will be more vigilant in the future.”
He added that he stayed in the restaurant for a short time and “leaved immediately after congratulating my friend and did not sit down to eat”.
“I think my behavior was careless, and I regret it,” Congressman Duncan Yau told local radio. “This sets a bad example.”
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was “very disappointed” with the large-scale gathering of officials.
According to local media reports, it was held to celebrate the birthday of Hong Weiwen, a member of China’s highest legislature.
Although the party was legal under the rules at the time, health officials advised people to avoid large gatherings three days ago.
The government raised COVID-19 restrictions This week, after a small outbreak of the Omicron variant was traced to a flight crew member.
Several local media posted a photo showing Hong Jun singing into a microphone with his arms around the shoulders of a smiling woman, neither of them wearing masks.
Local media said Hong, who apologized on Thursday night, had also been quarantined.
Also attending the gathering were nine senior government officials — including the city’s police chief and the head of the anti-corruption agency — but they were not required to be isolated when they left the venue before the arrival of suspected COVID carriers.
Earlier this week, Lin stated that even if “they may not know what an employee does”, airlines must be held responsible for crew members who violated the quarantine regulations.
When asked by reporters on Thursday whether she should do this, Lin said that if she is responsible for the actions of her ministers, these ministers should lead by example.
This is not the first time officials have gotten into trouble because of health regulations.
Last year, three immigration officials, including Ou, were fined for violating social distancing rules for eating hot pot in a luxury clubhouse of a mainland real estate developer.
Legislative Council meeting
The latest high-profile entry into Hong Kong’s 21-day quarantine facility has made Hong Kong authorities face red as they set up a new “Patriots Only” legislative body, which is scheduled to hold its first meeting next Wednesday.
Officials confirmed separately that the legislators sent to the isolation facility will miss the beginning of the legislative term because the President of the Legislative Council, Liang Zhenying, said that he hopes that next week’s meeting will continue as planned.
In accordance with the new regulations implemented by Beijing, 90 new urban politicians were elected last month, and the committee reviewed all “patriotic” candidates.
Only 20 people were directly elected with a record low voter turnout, and the rest were elected by a credible pro-Beijing committee.