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3 quarantined Filipina DHs linked to 5 earlier infections test positive for Covid-19

13 September 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

8 of the 13 Filipinas who arrived from Manila together on Wednesday are now infected

Three more Filipina domestic helpers who arrived in Hong Kong on Wednesday as part of a group of 13 recruits by the same employment agency in Manila, were confirmed as positive for Covid-19 today, Sept 13.

The three tested positive while in a quarantine centre where they were taken after five of their companions tested positive on arrival at Hong Kong Airport.

Two, aged 34 and 35, both developed symptoms yesterday, but the third, who is 40 years old, was asymptomatic.

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All of the eight infected FDHs from the group were taken to public hospitals for isolation and treatment, while the remaining five are still in the quarantine centre.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said that all the 13 FDHs who flew in via Hong Kong Airlines Flight HX872 on Wednesday had lived in the same dormitory ran by their recruitment agencies in Manila days before their flight.

Consul General Raly Tejada identified the Manila agencies as Placewell International Services Corporation and Triple One Human Manpower Services Corp which appear to be operated by one family, and are located on different floors of JMC Centre in Makati.

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In Hong Kong, the agencies have been listed as FRA Golden Full and FRA Golden Win, but neither is listed in the Employment Agencies Administration Portal. But there is one Golden Win, which has three branches across the city.

Congen Tejada said the agencies have been told to extend help to their infected recruits. 

It remains unclear why a majority of the FDHs from a single group were found infected, when everyone who departs from the Philippines is required to present a negative result for a Covid-19 swab test taken no earlier than 72 hours before departure.

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Meanwhile, a 41-year-old Indonesian domestic worker was found infected when she and her employers took part in the universal community testing on Sep 10 at the Lai King Community Health Centre.

Dr Chuang said the Indonesian’s employers were found negative of the virus although the maid often stayed with them at home, and would only go to the Mei Foo wet market to buy food supplies. The Sunday before the test, she did not take a day-off.

Of the day’s infections, eight were imported. The other five were all returning residents from India, and include a three-year-old boy who arrived on Sept 11, and four members of the same family who tested positive while quarantined in a hotel in Tsuen Wan.

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Asked if she was worried about the return of the daily tally to double digit in the past two days after dropping to just six previously, Chuang said no as because many of the cases are imported. These patients are tested on arrival, and are made to undergo a 14-day quarantine so the risk of them spreading the virus in the community is low, she explained.

Chuang said there's less chance imported cases will spread the virus in the community


Chuang said the bigger worry is still the number of local cases for which the sources are unknown, like the five listed today, three of which were detected through the mass testing.

Apart from the Indonesian helper, the two other cases from the UCT were a 65-year-old woman who lives in Tai Hing Estate in Tuen Mun and a 75-year-old retired male patient who lives in Cheung Sha Wan.

The CHP expert said the low positive rate from the UCT was a good thing as it means there are not a lot of  silent carriers in the community.

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 “But it also proves that there are indeed some cases in the community, so we have to be vigilant and keep up with our personal hygiene,” she said.

Out of more than 1.7 million people who took part in the two-week program which ends tomorrow, only 26 people tested positive for Covid-19.

There are now a total of 4,958 people who have been infected in Hong Kong. However, only 181 remain in public hospitals and the treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo. Of these, 21 are critical, nine are serious, and 151 are in stable condition.

The fatality toll remains at 99.

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