Labour Dept to FDH: Gatherings w/more than four people not allowed starting March 29

Image title

Compared to previous Sundays, only a few groups of Filipina domestic workers can be seen at Chater road on Feb.9.

The Labour Department warned on March 28 that foreign domestic helpers – over 217,000 of whom are Filipinos – should not engage in public gatherings which involve more than four people starting March 29.

This is part of a government prohibition for all people in Hong Kong which will disallow group gatherings with more than four people in the next 14 days. The special administrative region introduced this to prevent the human-to-human transmission of COVID-19,the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. There are 560 cases of COVID-19 infection in Hong Kong, 42 of which have been added today. Out of these, at least 20 are Filipinos, four have been discharged.

Those who violate the four-person limit will be fined $25,000 and will be imprisoned for six months.

“The Government announced today ( that a notice will be issued in the Gazette in accordance with the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) to prohibit group gatherings with more than four people in public places.  The notice will take effect at 0.00am on March 29 for 14 days.  LD reminds employers and FDHs to observe and comply with the relevant Regulation and notice, and appeals to them to avoid social activities on their rest days and stay at home for rest as far as possible.  Employers and FDHs may consider discussing rest day arrangements between themselves, including substituting another rest day, so as to avoid the health risk of participating in social activities,” the Labour Departmnent said.

The only group gatherings with more than four people which will be allowed include:

  • Group gathering for the purposes of or related to transportation
  • Group gathering for performing any governmental function
  • Group gathering for performing any duty of a statutory body or an advisory body of the Government
  • Group gathering at a place of work for the purposes of work
  • Group gathering for providing, obtaining or receiving hospital or healthcare service at a healthcare facility
  • Group gathering of persons living in the same household
  • Group gathering necessary for the conduct of proceedings in a court, magistrates’ court or tribunal
  • Group gathering necessary for the proceedings in the Legislative Council or a District Council
  • Group gathering during a funeral or any other occasion for mourning for or remembering a deceased who has yet to be buried or cremated (including any ritual or ceremony held in the vicinity of the place where the deceased died or suffered fatal injury to mourn for the death of the deceased)
  • Group gathering of not more than 20 persons during a wedding ceremony at which no food or drink is served
  • Group gathering at a meeting of a body that must be held within a specified period in order to comply with any Ordinance or other regulatory instrument that governs the operation of the body or its business
  • Group gathering held for imparting information or skills, or handling supplies or items, that are conducive to the prevention and control of the specified disease

The Labour Department said this as it reiterated its appeal to foreign domestic workers to stay at home on their rest days. It earlier issued the said advisory on Jan.30.

“In response to the COVID-19 infection, to safeguard FDHs’ personal health, LD issued a press release on January 30 to appeal to FDHs to stay at home for rest on their rest days as far as possible and stay away from crowds on public transport or at public places.  In view of the recent changes in circumstances of the epidemic in Hong Kong, the Government announced on March 23 further enhancements to our anti-epidemic measures,” the government agency said.

“LD again appeals to FDHs to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene at all times, avoid going out for social activities on rest days such as meal gatherings, and maintain an appropriate social distance with other people as far as possible.  The Government notes that the consulates-general of FDHs’ home countries have similarly appealed to their nationals to stay at home whenever possible, avoid crowded places and practise social distancing.”