HONG KONG — Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, announced on Monday that she would not seek a second term after a huge rise in coronavirus infections left the global financial hub with one of the world’s highest death tolls. highest viruses in the world.
Ms Lam announced her plans at a press conference, citing family reasons.
“It is my personal wish and aspiration and it is entirely based on my family consideration,” Ms Lam said, adding that she had already informed Beijing of her decision.
Ms Lam has come under fire from Hong Kong residents and pro-Beijing lawmakers for her mixed messaging and mishandling of the city’s fifth outbreak, its largest and most devastating since the pandemic began. Officials have balked at citywide mass testing, at one point indicating the city may have to lock residents in, a move that sparked anxiety and panic buying.
As cases spiked in February, Beijing stepped in, sending health workers, epidemiologists and technicians for testing. Hong Kong’s failure to bring the cases under control has prompted warnings from China’s top leaders, including Xi Jinping. It also caused an exodus of the city’s expatriate community.
Willing chief executive, Ms Lam became the target of huge street protests in 2019. Protesters demanded her resignation an extradition bill that faced strong opposition and months-long protests.
On Monday, Ms Lam referenced those protests, as well as the coronavirus and “relentless interference by foreign forces” during her tenure as Hong Kong leader.
“I had to deal with unprecedented and enormous pressure,” she said.
Tiffany Mai contributed report.