22nd July 2021 – (Hong Kong) Two children of the Saudi consul exempted from compulsory quarantine were diagnosed with COVID-19 variant. They went out shopping and eating during the home quarantine period, suspected of violating the regulations. According to the whereabouts announced by the Centre for Health Protection, the 13-year-old girl with the variant virus L452R has been to the Tung Chung Citygate Outlet and Goobne Chicken, the restaurant in Citygate Phase 2 and she has also been to the Tung Chung Cable Car Station.
Her 11-year-old brother has been to the Peak Galleria and McDonald’s at Peak Galleria. The Centre for Health Protection announced last night (21st) that the sister had been to APITA and Zara in Cityplaza in Taikoo Shing.
The two who were exempted went out privately during the home quarantine period has resulted in many heated discussion in the community.
The relevant actions are suspected to be illegal but it is unsure if the government will take action against the Saudi Arabia consular family. During this afternoon (22nd), the Hong Kong government finally responded, stating that according to the current exemption policy, consular officers and their immediate family members in the consulate in Hong Kong can be exempted from compulsory quarantine upon arrival in Hong Kong. Exempted persons must comply with the specified exemption conditions, including requirements for testing at the airport upon arrival, quarantine arrangements, and restrictions on the scope of activities. Exempt persons must provide samples for testing on the 3rd, 7th, 12th, 16th and 19th day of arrival in Hong Kong. The affiliated organisation must provide exempt persons with point-to-point transportation to and from the airport and premises, and shall not use public transportation.
The Hong Kong Government emphasised that the exempted persons “are not allowed to leave the isolation place and contact the public during the self-isolation period.” The Hong Kong Government claimed that the children of foreign consular officials in Hong Kong involved are exempt persons and admitted that during the investigation by the Department of Health, it found that they had gone out during the self-isolation and violated the exemption conditions. The Department of Health has taken immediate action to disqualify them as exempt persons and send them for mandatory quarantine. The Protocol Office also contacted the relevant consulate immediately, and the other party promised to fully cooperate with the government’s quarantine measures, and has reminded its consular staff to comply with relevant quarantine regulations. The Hong Kong government has not mentioned whether there are penalties against them.