Hong Kong elections to go ahead on schedule, says Finance Chief as more cases are reported at restaurant cluster

People line up to receive the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine at a community vaccination centre in Hong Kong, Feb 26,2021. - AP

HONG KONG, Feb 27 (Bloomberg/China Daily-ANN): Hong Kong plans to hold Legislative Council elections on Sept 5 as scheduled, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang said on Saturday in an interview with a local radio station.

Tsang said he couldn’t provide further details on the procedures for the elections because reforms might be implemented, reported Bloomberg.

The elections, which were delayed for a year due to the pandemic, come amid moves by China to neutralise the pro-democracy camp.

Authorities last year passed a sweeping national security law that has been used to curtail free speech, while also imposing a patriotism test to disqualify some lawmakers -- a move that prompted opposition members in the legislature to resign en masse in November.

Meanwhile, China Daily reported that Hong Kong reported 33 new Covid-19 infections on Saturday, the largest one-day increase since Feb 5, as a cluster originated from a restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui further expanded.

Saturday's new cases included 31 locally transmitted ones, 10 of which were untraceable, Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said at a briefing.

Fifteen of the fresh cases belonged to the cluster originated from Mr Ming’s Chinese Dining at K11 Musea in Tsim Sha Tsui, Chuang said. Nine of them were patrons, four workers and two close contacts, Chuang added. The new additions pushed the total number of infected patients in the cluster to 20.

Chuang said there were also around 20 patients who tested preliminary positive, including seven relating to the cluster.

Anyone working at K11 Musea will now be subject to mandatory Covid-19 testing as silent transmission might have occurred in the shopping mall, Chuang said.

She also called on people who have visited the mall on or after Feb 19 to take the Covid-19 test.

The two imported cases reported on Saturday involved a foreign domestic helper from the Philippines and a traveler from India.

The city’s total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases stood at 10,983.

According to the Hospital Authority, 203 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalised, including 17 in critical condition.

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