HONG KONG, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan tested positive for COVID-19 during a visit to Saudi Arabia and will stay there for a “short while” to observe health requirements, the city’s government said on Thursday.
Chan is due to deliver a keynote speech at an international banking conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday next week, the most high-profile event in the city since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, which officials hope will signal its reopening after more than two years of border restrictions.
Chan had been due to complete his visit to Saudi Arabia and return to Hong Kong on Thursday but had tested positive before setting off for home.
“He has cancelled the remaining parts of the visit and will stay in Riyadh for a short while, and seek to comply with relevant health requirements and return to Hong Kong as soon as possible,” the city said.
The city government did not mention Chan’s attendance at next week’s Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit, which will include the heads of some of the world’s top banks and asset managers.
The banking conference will be followed by the Rugby Sevens tournament on Nov. 4-6, returning to the city for the first time since 2019.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc CEO David Solomon, Citigroup Inc head Jane Fraser, Morgan Stanley boss James Gorman and BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) President Rob Kapito will be among the speakers at the conference, its organiser, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), has announced.
Hong Kong’s unrelenting COVID curbs have battered its economy and standing as a financial centre as the rest of the world lives with the virus and rival hubs like Singapore, London and New York carry out business as normal.
Hong Kong has scrapped mandatory hotel quarantine but international arrivals still can not enter some places, like bars and restaurants, on the first three days of their visit.
Participants in the banking event from abroad will be have to take a COVID test before beginning their journey to Hong Kong, upon arrival and throughout the three-day medical surveillance period, the HKMA said.
However, they will be able to have meals with others in private rooms and visit some venues.
“If tested positive, a guest can choose to leave by chartered flight or undergo isolation until it is considered safe, from public health angle, for the isolation arrangement to be lifted,” the HKMA said.
Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel
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