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HK says all residents to get free coronavirus vaccine as 103 new infections recorded

Posted on 02 December 2020 No comments

By The SUN 

Britain has approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Reuters)

Hong Kong’s health chief says vaccine for Covid-19 will be provided free to all residents as soon as possible, with about three million people deemed to be high risk or vulnerable getting the first shot, literally.

Dr Sophia Chan said this at the Legislative Council today, Dec 2, as 103 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the city, including 39 more cases linked to a facility for the mentally disabled in Sheung Wan, and 14 from a construction site in Tseung Kwan O.

In Britain, meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed that the country’s regulators have approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which is said to offer 95% protection against Covid-19. The first 800,000 doses will be made available across the country from next week.

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Dr Chan told legislators that the government has already set aside funds to procure two doses of the vaccine for all of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents. However, the vaccination will be on a voluntary basis.

The first to get the vaccine are medical workers, elderly people, patients with chronic disease, and care homes staff.

Asked by pro-Beijing lawmakers if it was possible for the government to speed up the registration process for emergency use of mainland-approved vaccines, Chan said: “They will have to be safe, efficient and effective, but we do not rule out the possibility of emergency legislation in times of need,” she said.

Dr Chan says the vaccine to be given to residents must be safe & effective (RTHK)

She made the pledge as the government is reportedly set to jack up the fixed penalty for violators of social-distancing rules to $10,000, from the current $2,000. The new measure is now said to be with the Department of Justice for review.

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Among the latest confirmed cases were those adding to the fast-growing clusters emerging from a Tseung Kwan O construction site and a care home for intellectually disabled people in Shau Kei Wan.

At today’s press briefing on the coronavirus contagion, the Centre for Health Protection said that of today’s 103 cases, 6 were imported, 82 were linked to previous infections, and 15 could not be traced.

About 70 preliminary-positive cases were also reported.

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Of the six imported cases, three were returning residents from Nepal, and one each from the United Kingdom, Germany. The flight details of the sixth are still being checked as of this writing.

The Hospital Authority also disclosed that a 73-year-old woman who recently arrived from Nepal had died at about noon today at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The city’s death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 110.

In reporting on the new infections, CHP’s Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan mentioned in particular an apparent outbreak at a construction site in Lohas Park, Tseung Kwan O where about 900 workers were stationed.


Dr Chuang said that 14 more workers from the site were confirmed infected today, along with two relatives. They took the number of cases in the cluster to 19.

Also mentioned was the 39 new cases linked to the Fong Shu Chuen Day Activity Centre and Hostel, a facility for intellectually disabled people in Shau Kei Wan. There are now 44 cases in the cluster in total.

More cases have been found in the HK Sanatorium

Another outbreak seems to have occurred at the high-end private hospital, Hong Kong Sanatorium, & Hospital in Happy Valley, where a patient who underwent dialysis there on Nov 24 was found infected.

The patient reportedly stayed in a single-person cubicle, next to the one occupied by another patient who tested positive for Covid-19 on Dec 1 and died on the same day.

A 65-year-old man who entered Hong Kong from the mainland and went on to care for the 77-year-old patient who passed on at the hospital, has also come down with the disease.

The sudden surge in the number of cases has left isolation beds and wards at public hospitals more than 70% full, which Dr Lau Ka-hin of the Hospital Authority said was “worrying” as most patients need at least two weeks to recover from the disease.

To relieve the pressure on hospital staff, about 500 more beds and 20 isolation wards will be made available from tomorrow at the treatment facility in AsiaWorld-Expo, where patients with less severe or no symptoms are taken.

Dr Lau said 860 infected patients are now being treated in public hospitals and the AWE, among whom 17 are in critical condition, 11 are seriously ill, and 132 are stable.



Agency staff arrested for making false claim to employer

Posted on 01 December 2020 No comments

By The SUN 

The agency staff charged the employer again after the initial FDH-applicant backed out (File photo)

A staff of an employment agency was reportedly arrested earlier today, Dec. 1 for allegedly giving false information to a customer who was looking to hire a foreign domestic worker.

The agency reportedly offered to provide the would-be employer with a replacement helper without extra charge should the original choice withdraws the job application due to personal reasons.

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However, after the helper selected earlier by the customer decided to back out, the agency staff asked for additional charges from the employer for arranging a replacement, contrary to its claim.

After initial investigation, Customs officers arrested the 38-year-old female agency staff on suspicion of applying false trade description to the services supplied by her company, in violation of the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

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After an initial investigation, the suspect was released on bail pending further investigation. 

In a press statement announcing the arrest, Customs reminded traders to comply with the requirements of the TDO, and consumers to procure services at reputable shops.

Under the TDO, any trader who applies a false trade description to a service supplied to a consumer commits an offense. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for five years.

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Members of the public may report any suspected violations of the TDO to Customs’ 24-hour hotline, 2545 6182, or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (



Shun parties & report violators, Lam tells public as 82 new virus cases found

Posted on No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Boat parties will no longer be allowed and the public is advised to report any such gathering (File)

Chief Executive Carrie Lam, calling for self-discipline as key to defeating the coronavirus pandemic, urged people today, Dec 1, to stay at home and shun social gatherings as police will strictly apply the new social distancing rules from tomorrow.

Lam also called on the public to report to an emergency hotline any crowd-gathering on piers and private yachts.

She made her pronouncements as the government intensifies a campaign to stop the worsening fourth wave of the contagion, which today infected 82 people, according to health officials.

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Separately, the government postponed until next year planned quarantine-free tours that tap into the Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble on the eve of the inaugural flights.

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said in a statement the bubble arrangements would be reviewed in “late December”, with a view to reassessing the health conditions in Hong Kong.

As cases rose in the contagion’s fourth wave, the Executive Council approved social-distancing rules including re-imposing a ban on church services, large weddings and local tours, and slapping heavier fines for breaches of protocols and mask-wearing rules in its weekly meeting today.

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As of this writing, it appears the cabinet is still working on the details of the new rules.

“Stay at home, especially if you are an elderly person. Avoid social gatherings when you are at home. Don’t ask your friends and families to go to one another’s homes,” she said  in a meeting with media before the ExCo session.

Lam singled out private individuals who she said have been organizing parties on yachts at sea to avoid the social distancing rules. She said the Marine Police will now act on any such breaches, including boarding vessels to enforce the law.

CE Lam is cracking down on violators of quarantine and gathering restrictions

“If you identify any breaches, call the hotline 3660 8623 and the Marine Police will do their job,” Lam said. There are three platforms for reporting breaches – the Marine Police, the online platform 1823, and the police, she said.

She also urged the public to report to police if they see anybody with a quarantine wristband on the street, or entering a restaurant or any public place.


Lam said people who work for target groups such as homes for elderly people and persons with physical disabilities should go to mandatory quarantine for 14 days and undergo another test after 19 or 20 days.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection reported 82 new Covid-19 cases, 10 of them imported, 32 related to the dance club cluster, 17 linked to previous infections, and 23 with unknown sources.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s communicable disease branch, said in the daily press briefing that there were more than 60 preliminary cases today.

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Chuang said the dance club cluster now accounts for 552 of the city’s 6,397 total cases.

She also said the Pine Tree Hill Seafood Restaurant on Hillwood Road in Tsimshatsui was added to the mandatory testing list after a diner and a worker tested positive there. All who visited the eatery recently must go for a test, she said.

Three new cases reported today were linked to a construction site at Lohas Park Phase 9, where eight others have tested preliminary positive, Chuang said. All who worked there from Nov 15 onwards must undergo testing.

The main contractor at the site suspended operations and sent more than 900 employees for testing.

Among today’s cases were three employees and two residents at Fong Shu Chuen Day Activity Centre & Hostel, in addition to eight who tested positive in a quarantine center.

A resident at Pak Lok Nursing Home in San Po Kong also tested positive, prompting mandatory testing for 50 residents and several employees.

Two employees and a resident at Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Ho Yuk Ching Willow Lodge in Tai Kok Tsui also tested positive.

Among the 10 imported cases are four newly arrived women from Indonesia, aged 21, 28, 29 and 38. Two arrived from Canada, and one each from the United States, Poland, Pakistan and India.

Dr Lau Ka-hin, chief manager of the Hospital Authority, said that as at 9am today, 17 confirmed Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital, raising the total number of recoveries to 5,361.

A total of 812 confirmed patients are currently confined in 21 public hospitals and the community treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo, Lau said. Of this number, 14 patients are in critical condition, seven are in serious condition and the remaining 791 are in stable condition. 


PCG back to shortened work hours amid spike in coronavirus cases

Posted on No comments

By The SUN 

The Consulate will be open for 5 hours on weekdays and 6 on Sundays

The Philippine Consulate General has announced that it will go back to shortened work hours starting this Thursday, Dec. 3, in compliance with the Hong Kong government’s latest guidelines on social distancing.

Work hours on Sunday will be from 9am to 3pm, while on Monday to Thursday, the service hours will be cut down by an hour, or from 10am to 3pm. The Consulate used to open at 8am on Sundays and 9am Monday to Thursday,  and close at 4pm on these days.

The advisory said that those who have prior appointments on a time slot not covered by the new service hours may come at any time on the day of their appointment.

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According to Consul General Raly Tejada, Consulate staff will be on full force despite the shortened service hours.

During the third wave of infections in early July to August, the PCG also shortened its service hours, and allowed its staff to work from home on alternate days to lessen the number of people in its offices.

ConGen Tejada said the shorter operation hours are also meant to help Filipinos seeking their services to avoid rush-hour crowds in going to and from the Consulate.

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Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced yesterday, Nov 30, that all civil servants, except those who provide essential services, will go back to working from home from tomorrow, Wednesday.

The number of people allowed to gather in pubic has been reduced to two, from the current four. Restaurants and other venues that provide dine-in services will also be restricted to sitting two customers to a table, and cease operations at 10pm, from the current 12 midnight.

The drastic measures are being taken amid a continuing surge in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the city, most of them locally acquired. A total number of 82 cases were reported today, up slightly from the 76 recorded yesterday.


But Sunday’s record tally of 115 cases for the current wave of infections was what prompted government officials to clamp down anew on social gatherings, jack up penalties on violators, and impose more severe restrictions.

CG Tejada says the Consulate is allowed to close on 20 public holidays, either in the Phl or HK

Also today, the PCG also released an advisory today showing the four days this month when it will be closed in observance of public holidays in the Philippines. These include Dec 8 for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; Dec 24, Christmas Eve; Dec 30, Rizal Day; and Dec 31, New Year’s Eve.

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Contrary to widespread belief that the Consulate shuts down for all Philippine and Hong Kong holidays, ConGen Tejada said they are allowed to only choose 20 public holidays to close down during the year, apart from their regular two days off a week.

“Our public holidays are capped at 20 days each year. We allowed to choose legitimate holidays, basta hindi lalampas sa 20,” he said.



Jewelry theft case vs Filipina helper moved to District Court

Posted on No comments

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The defendant is accused of stealing 17 jewelry pieces from her employer

A Filipina domestic helper accused of stealing more than a dozen pieces of jewelry from her employer in South Horizons has been told her case will be moved to the District Court when she enters a plea on Dec. 17.

Revelyn Resurreccion learned about the transfer of venue when she appeared before  Eastern Court Magistrate Bina Chainrai on Monday, Nov. 30.

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Criminal cases of a serious nature, where the prescribed penalty is up to 7 years’ imprisonment, or civil disputes involving claims over $75,000 but not more than $3 million are heard in the District Court.

Resurreccion is accused of stealing five necklaces with pendants, two other necklaces, five pairs of earrings, one ring, and four bracelets from her employer, Lai Ching, from the latter’s residence in South Horizons, Ap Lei Chau.

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She has been held in police custody since her arrest on May 1, after the employer reported that her jewelry pieces were missing.

The total value of the allegedly stolen jewelry was not disclosed. No other details of the case were read out.

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The prosecution said if the case goes to trial, it would call five witnesses.

The prosecution said it would oppose the granting of bail to the suspect. The defense lawyer, however, said the defendant had no bail application.


‘Akap’ fund applications re-open for OFWs hit by pandemic

Posted on 30 November 2020 No comments

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Labatt Dizon at the Polo website launch where he announced the resumption of Akap fund processing

Applications for cash assistance through the “Akap” (Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong) program of the Department of Labor and Employment for overseas Filipino workers whose employment have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, are now being accepted again.

This was according to Labor Attache Mel Dizon, who announced during the launch of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office website on Sunday, Nov 29, that funds for the program have been replenished after the passage of the “Bayanihan to Recover As One Act 2.”

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The law, officially designated as Republic Act No 11494 and enacted last September, granted President Rodrigo Duterte additional authority and funds to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in the Philippines.

“In the recent law that was passed they already approved again (funding) for Dole Akap,” said Labatt Dizon.

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“So now we can now process again the applications for one-time financial assistance to those who are qualified.”

Three conditions must be met before the USD200 (HK$1,556) cash aid can be granted to an OFW applicant, said Dizon.


First, the OFW must either be a 1) documented worker; 2) undocumented but qualified; 3) stranded in the Philippines because of travel restrictions imposed by the host country.

Second, the worker must have been terminated or temporarily lost income because of Covid-related reasons. This could include getting sick with Covid-19, or if the worker is released by an employer who likewise became jobless due to the pandemic.

OFWs stranded at Manila airport by flight restrictions received cash aid from OWWA

In a follow-up talk with Dizon afterwards, he said it was important that an applicant presents proof that he or she became unemployed due to the pandemic, as government auditors are strict in ensuring that the fund is disbursed according to the rules.

The third requirement is that the applicant must not have availed of a cash assistance due to the pandemic from either Dole-Akap or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

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When the contagion was at its early stage, the Philippines stopped many OFWs from leaving for their jobs abroad, particularly those bound for China, Hong Kong, Macau, and even Taiwan, leaving scores of them stranded in Manila.

OWWA provided the stranded OFWs with cash aid, and even transportation fare for their return flights back to their home provinces.

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The Akap cash disbursement in Hong Kong had previously been suspended twice after funds sent by Dole in Manila had run out.

Those who wish to apply for the cash aid and are qualified must log on to, fill up the online application and attach the required documents. They should then obtain the one-time pin (OTP) that will serve as reference in monitoring the status of the application.

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The required documents are:

(1) passport or travel document;

(2) proof of overseas employment, including OEC copy, Balik Manggagawa Online (BMO) certificate, visa, etc;

(3) proof of loss of employment due to Covid-19, such as notice or certificate of termination by employer or recruitment agency, or the worker’s own “salaysay” or statement

(4) proof of return to the Philippines (for those who are back home during the time of application; and

(5) in case of stranded OFWs, requirements 1-3 and return ticket and valid employment visa

For more information, check out Polo Hong Kong's Facebook page:


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