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No policy of family separation, says CE, as kids join infected US consulate staff in hospital

16 March 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

CE Lam says no hardline taken towards parents and young kids affected by pandemic

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has firmly rejected allegations that her government has been separating babies from their mothers as a result of strict coronavirus rules that dictate that all those found infected are taken to hospital in isolation, while close contacts are moved to quarantine centers.

Speaking ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting today, Mar 16, Mrs Lam said, “We have no policy to deliberately separating children from parents, but public health considerations have to be respected because it’s good for the community at large.”

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She made her remarks in the wake of media reports that the strict government regulations have led to babies who tested positive for Covid-19 being separated from their parents, who are in turn moved to quarantine centers. The same happens when it is the parents who test positive, and the babies are deemed as close contacts.

As an example of the government’s more humane approach to such a difficult situation, Lam cited the case of two young daughters of two staff members of the United States Consulate found infected with the virus to join their parents in a public hospital where they were moved for isolation and treatment last night.

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But the top official quickly added that the arrangement was made because of “family circumstances”, and not because of preferential treatment given to the parents because of their status as consulate staff.

“I have to say that in such an important matter as public health control, we are acting in strict accordance with the law, and everybody is treated equal before the law, regardless of race, status or identity, whether they are more resourceful or less resourceful,” she said.


The two US Consulate staff, one male aged 40 and female aged 41, were among 18 confirmed cases reported today.

They were asymptomatic, but tested positive during the overnight lockdown starting Sunday of Dynasty Court on Old Peak Road where they live. One of their daughters tested preliminary positive for the virus, said Lam.

The US Consulate has been put under compulsory testing order

In line with local regulations, the US Consulate General was closed yesterday for deep cleansing, while a compulsory testing order has been issued for those who had been to the premises for more than two hours from Mar 2 to 15.


“The Centre for Health Protection will do extensive tracing of the whereabouts of these confirmed cases working in the American consulate, [both] within the workplace and outside of the workplace,” said Lam.

Also among the local cases was a family of four who live at the police living quarters in Ho Man Tin, made up of  a 38-year-old man, 41-year-old woman, and two girls aged 10 and 11.


Another positive case involved a 38-year-old man who works as an information technology engineer at the HSBC headquarters on Queen’s Road Central. He developed a runny nose on Mar 10 and continued working until Mar 15, when his test result showed he was infected.

There were five imported cases, including a 26-year-old Filipina domestic worker who flew in on Mar 3 aboard a Philippine Airlines flight PR 300 from Manila, and tested positive on her 12th day in hotel quarantine.

The others were a 29-year-old male air crew from Ukraine, a 25-year-old man from Turkey, and two Pakistani residents, one 22-year-old female and a 64-year-old male.

The new cases brought Hong Kong’s total Covid-19 tally to 11,330.



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