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PCG promises to help arriving OFWs caught by HK's new quarantine rule

18 March 2020

UPDATED


Scene inside HK airport just before midnight, Mar 18. Thousands rushed to fly in to avoid the quarantine

By The SUN

Consul General Raly Tejada says all overseas Filipino workers who will arrive in Hong Kong after the 14-day mandatory requirement imposed by the city's government starting Mar 19  will be helped by the Consulate should they encounter problems.

The biggest fear by many is that their employers will not agree to take them in, either because there is not enough space in their homes, or because they fear contamination.

But Congen Tejada said our OFWs have no reason to fear. “We have already engaged all agencies to ensure that employers will honor the contracts and allow home quarantine for returning or first time workers.”

Late Wednesday night, the Hong Kong Labour Department also appealed to employers to take their FDWs who will be put under home quarantine.

"Employers and agencies should remind FDHs to comply with the compulsory quarantine requirement," the labour advisory said.

"If helpers prefer that helpers stay out from their residence, they should make prior arrangements with agencies to accommodate the FDHs concerned."

The Labour Department also urged employers to comply with their obligations under the Standard Employment Contracts including paying for the accommodation and food of FDHs under quarantine.

Employers and agencies were also asked to educate the worker about the need to stay at home at all times during the quarantine. This indicates the helper may be asked to work, as long as she does not go out during the isolation period.



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Hong Kong imposed the 14-day home quarantine for all passengers arriving from overseas after noticing that most of its new cases of coronavirus infection, or Covid-19, are imported cases.

The Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E) took  effect at zero hours on Mar 19, and will last for three months.

Under the Regulation, all persons who stayed overseas for at least 14 days before arriving in Hong Kong, regardless of nationality and travel documents used, will be subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days.  
The only exemptions are those who arrive from Macau or Taiwan.

Anyone who violates the quarantine order faces a maximum fine of $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months.

The place of quarantine will be determined by an authorized person, or if the authority deems it prudent and appropriate, allow the concerned person to nominate the place where he/she wishes to be quarantined.
The Chief Secretary may exempt certain categories of persons who perform vital services, such as supplying goods or services, or protecting the safety or health of the public, or under exceptional circumstances that serve public interest.

Included in the new quarantine order are airline pilots and flight attendants who fly in from abroad. But they can fly out earlier as long as their airlines follow set procedures, the Health Department said.

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Asked what the Consulate would do if employers refused to take their helpers in, Tejada said: “We will deal directly with employers. Hindi pwede ma-displace mga kababayan natin.

He went on to explain that if the workers are allowed to pass through HK Immigration, it means they are not sick, so employers have no cause for worry.
 
Congen Tejada says OFWs will be helped if they run into problems complying with the quarantine

He also repeated an earlier advice for Filipino migrant workers to ask face masks and other protective materials from their employers so they can have the same kind of protection against the virus as anyone else in Hong Kong.

“Employers are supposed to provide basic medical assistance to their employees and face masks should be a priority at this time,” he said.

Any Filipino who encounters a problem in connection with Hong Kong’s new quarantine measure could call the Consulate’s hotline, 9155 4023, or its assistance to nationals section through the trunkline, 2823 8503.

Hong Kong disclosed recording 14 new cases on Mar 19, bringing the total tally to 181. The death toll remains at 4.

It was the biggest single-day increase since the first confirmed case involving a male visitor from the Chinese central city of Wuhan was reported on Jan. 24. All but one of the latest cases arrived from abroad, validating the reason for the quarantine of all arrivals.

More people trying to clear HK Immigration before quarantine is imposed on new arrivals
Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the expanded quarantine on Tuesday, saying it was in response to recent data showing nearly all of Hong Kong’s new coronavirus cases had been brought in by people arriving from various parts of the world.

It was also taken in anticipation of a large number of young residents returning to Hong Kong soon, after their schools in Europe and the United States had shut down amid the pandemic.

Only one of the 14 new cases, a 50-year-old secretary at an international school, did not have a travel history. The CHP said she had been out with friends in Central’s Soho area before she was diagnosed with the disease.

Among the new cases are 28-year-old karate competitor, Lee Chun-ho, who had trained in France and Austria before his return; a 55-year-old man who went on a group tour of western Europe arranged by Miramar Travel; and a 30-year-old man who stayed at the Hotel Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour in North Point after returning from Germany.

The rest had been to Japan, Thailand and Europe, while three returned from Britain. Eight others had tested positive tentatively for Covid-19, the CHP said.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected nearly 200,000 as of this writing, causing 8,131 deaths, while 81,775 patients have recovered.

China leads the tally with 80,894 infections and 3,237 deaths. Italy, the new epicenter of the pandemic, had 31,506 cases and 2,350 deaths as of Wednesday.
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