Hong Kong racing can take a deep breath after the result of jockey Keith Yeung Ming-lun’s coronavirus test came back negative, the Jockey Club has confirmed.
The 31-year-old reported he had “an elevated temperature and felt unwell” on Sunday night, shortly after competing at the Hong Kong Derby meeting at Sha Tin.
Yeung was examined by the Jockey Club’s chief medical officer, who felt his temperature was normal, but took a nasal swap for analysis as a precaution. The result of that test, which came through on Monday night, is negative for Covid-19.
That will be a huge relief to the entire Hong Kong racing community and in particular, jockeys Derek Leung Ka-chun and Blake Shinn, who sat closest to him on Sunday and were told not to attend trackwork on Monday morning as a precaution.
The result ensures Wednesday night’s Happy Valley meeting goes ahead, but Yeung will sit out as the Jockey Club wants to take no risks, with replacements for his five mounts to be named. He will take another test on Tuesday morning and will not attend trackwork. Both Leung and Shinn are free to ride.
The recent spike in infections in Hong Kong has forced the Jockey Club to tighten its restrictions across the board.
Late last week it announced that all off-course betting branches would be closed for the next two weeks and only key personnel, staff and owners with starters will be allowed on course for the same period, starting with Wednesday night’s meeting.
Anyone who has been overseas in the past 14 days will not be allowed to enter, customers have to sign a health declaration and all are subjected to temperature screening and have to wear a mask.
“The number of positive cases leads to a different risk situation and we have to adjust,” Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges said.
“I know we will have some unhappy customers, but we have to keep the bubble intact and we have to try, responsibly, to continue racing and still create community benefits.
“When you see the number of cases going up, I think the most important thing is protecting our customers and our employees.”
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