Hong Kong | On Tuesday, the United States accused the Chinese media of publishing “misinformation” about its diplomats in Hong Kong, and denied immunity to detaining two staff members who tested positive for COVID-19.
Washington temporarily closed its consulate on Monday to allow authorities to find contact cases and disinfect and deep clean the building.
The Hong Kong consulate and health officials said the two had been isolated at the hospital in line with measures taken to combat the corona virus infection.
The Chinese state media and a large pro-Beijing union have accused employees of inciting diplomatic immunity, which US officials have categorically denied.
Foreign Ministry spokesman AFP
“We reject these attempts to spread misinformation about an important public health issue.”
Reports of alleged use of diplomatic immunity were first leaked by Todd News, one of the pro-Beijing media outlets in the Hot Kong.
The English-language Chinese daily “Global Times” reiterated this information, accusing US officials of “arrogant and illegal behavior”.
On Tuesday morning, Hong Kong chief executive Gary Lam said two of the polluted embassy staff were in hospital and U.S. officials were following the rules.
“I am pleased to see that the US Consulate has issued a press release (Monday) that will seek our advice and support our work,” Gary Lam told reporters.
However, the largest pro-Beijing workers’ union in Hong Kong – the Confederation of Trade Unions – staged a small protest outside the US consulate following Lam’s intervention.
The four members of the union held banners with slogans such as “No privilege, no exception” and “Strong condemnation of viral behavior despite social norms”.
Public meetings of more than four people are currently banned in Hong Kong due to the corona virus.
Hong Kong has so far managed to control the epidemic, at the cost of some of the strictest isolation measures and strict controls in the world.
There have been a total of 11,000 cases since the virus appeared and 200 deaths from COVID-19.