Changes to quarantine scheme cause woes for arriving FDWs, agencies

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Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection. (SCREENSHOT:

Foreign domestic workers and their agencies grasped at straws upon entry to Hong Kong after the government suddenly imposed a mandatory 21-day quarantine for all arrivals.

Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies chairperson Thomas Chan said the order caused “chaotic and messy” situations for agencies in Manila and the Philippines.

The new quarantine scheme took effect at midnight of Christmas Day, Dec. 25. The government ordered the extension in its tightening of COVID-19 prevention measures following the discovery of new coronavirus variants from two countries.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) told reporters Friday she heard some foreign domestic workers ran into “difficulties” at the airport while showing proof of a three-week quarantine arrangement.

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Chuang said the domestic workers were assisted by airport staff to extend their quarantine period to seven days, but added that they may need help from employment agencies and employers.

But Chan said agencies had trouble extending the workers’ stay at the hotels because all the rooms were booked.

The agency union head said that while the situation is too early to predict, some employers have called the agencies to postpone deployment of their domestic helper because of the cost.

Chan said the price employers have to pay for booking quarantine hotels for their workers has increased to around HK$15,000-HK$18,000 from around HK$8,000.

The CHP reported 57 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday. Two of these were imported cases: both females from Indonesia and the Philippines.

Of the 55 local cases, 25 had no traceable origins. Over 50 preliminary positive cases were logged.

Hong Kong has recorded 8,482 cases of COVID-19 in the city.

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