Hong Kong’s 3rd COVID-19 Wave: 42 New Cases Coincide With Opening of Beijing’s New National Security Office

July 14, 2020 Updated: July 15, 2020

Hong Kong has excelled at preventing a mass CCP virus outbreak amid the worldwide pandemic. But a recent uptick in cases coincidentally occurred following Beijing’s formal implementation of its national security law.

“We can see Hong Kong has had a COVID wildfire after the implementation of the National Security Law,” said Kalvin Ho, vice president of the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL), a pro-democracy political party, during a press conference. He raised concerns that there was a lack of information about the COVID-19 testing for mainland Chinese staff who are working in the newly established national security bureau in Hong Kong.

Beijing formally enacted the law after ceremonial votes on June 30. The law criminalizes individuals for any acts of subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Then, on July 8, Beijing turned a hotel near Victoria Park in Causeway Bay into the new headquarters of its Office of Safeguarding National Security. The office was set up under a provision of the national security law. The office has sweeping power with immunity from local jurisdiction.

Hong Kong is one of the world’s most densely populated cities. A daily high-speed train runs between Hong Kong and Wuhan, the city where the COVID-19 pandemic originated.

As of July 14, Hong Kong has 1,469 confirmed cases and 7 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Despite being one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong successfully prevented community transmission, until Saturday, July 4. A 59-year-old man with no recent travel history tested positive for COVID-19. By July 9, 42 new confirmed COVID cases appeared in Hong Kong.

The virus resurgence coincided with the implementation of the Chinese Communist Party’s controversial national security law, which has been met with protests and fear by city residents.

During the ADPL press conference, the group raised concerns about the lack of COVID testing and quarantine for officials and staff who are working in the new national security bureau in Hong Kong.

“They are coming from mainland China. Do they have any tests to see whether they are healthy or not? We don’t know any information about the officials inside,” said Ho.

“We have witnesses saying these national security law staff are coming out of the building and coming into contact with our residents. We’re raising public concern to get the Hong Kong government to publicize the health of [the bureau’s staff],” he added.

Under the law, Beijing appointed hardliner Zheng Yanxiong to lead the new security office. Local media reported that the new office has 200 to 300 staff members.

Meanwhile, Epoch Times reporters discovered that there were mainland Chinese citizens loitering near the newly set-up office on the day of its inauguration ceremony.

On July 8, a reporter with this publication’s Hong Kong edition spoke with a man who was standing outside the office, with his face mask pulled down.

“Are you a tourist or do you work here?” the reporter asked.

“I don’t work here,” the man blurted in Mandarin Chinese. Local Hongkongers speak a different Chinese dialect, Cantonese.

The reporter then asked if he was visiting Hong Kong. “The man replied, “Yes, here for travel, here for travel.”

Currently, there is a strict travel entry ban on all non-Hong Kong residents. The reporter proceeded to ask how he was able to travel to the city from mainland China.

The man responded, “I can’t go back, I can’t go back.”

After realizing the reporter’s affiliation with The Epoch Times, the man hurriedly picked up his cellphone call. He left and walked right into the new office—and no police officers or security guards stopped him.

In other media footage of the inauguration ceremony, the same man is seen standing by the stage with prominent local pro-Beijing lawmakers. Once again, his face mask was pulled down.

After the discovery of new cases this week, 13 educational institutions have suspended classes. Visits to elderly care centers were restricted after a few cases were discovered at the Kong Tai Elderly Care Center. The Hong Kong government also mandated that restaurants return to capping customers’ parties to eight maximum.

Health experts said that the increasing number of infections signaled that Hong Kong was experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 infections. A batch of the new cases remains untraced.