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Friday, Dec 09, 2022

President Xi’s visit to Hong Kong uncertain as Wan Chai hotels reopen for booking

President Xi’s visit to Hong Kong uncertain as Wan Chai hotels reopen for booking

Two luxury hotels near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre - which will host incoming Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s inauguration ceremony on July 1, have recently reopened bookings for rooms, fueling speculation about President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the event.
The two harbor front hotels, Grand Hyatt and Renaissance, have previously blacked out available booking dates between June 23 to early July, a move to reserve rooms for guests of the event to undergo seven days of quarantine before attending the event in a closed-loop system, according to sources.

It was said that the two hotels have recently reopened their bookings for rooms before June 28, with some casting doubt over whether Xi will really pay Hong Kong a visit on July 1.

However, sources close to the matter said authorities have decided to shorten the quarantine period for those who would attend the event, which is also why the hotels reopened their bookings.

It is understood that authorities have now decided to require guests and workers attending the event to undergo a 4-day quarantine at home before heading over to the hotels for an additional three days of quarantine.

According to reports, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other top Hong Kong officials - including her incoming replacement John Lee - were preparing to enter the closed loop.

That system would prevent officials from meeting “outsiders” and require them to live apart from their families.

China has used closed-loop systems to ensure key events go ahead with minimum infection risk as the country sticks to its Covid Zero policy. Similar protocols were used this year for the Beijing Winter Olympics and the National People’s Congress.

Xi’s attendance on July 1 would mark his first trip outside mainland China since January 2020, when he visited neighboring Myanmar. Since then, the mainland has stuck to a strict zero-tolerance policy that’s sometimes plunged cities into lockdown over a handful of cases and all but closed the nation’s borders.
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