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Calls for pre-flight jabs for FDHs as 6 imported Covid-19 cases reported

07 April 2021

By The SUN 

Hui says that instead of a flight ban the govt could consider requiring FDHs to get vaccinated

Hong Kong’s eight new coronavirus infections today, Apr 7, including six imported cases all carrying the mutated virus, have renewed debates on whether a flight ban should be imposed on countries considered as high risk.

At least one health expert said that instead of flight ban, the government could require all foreign domestic helpers to be vaccinated before being allowed to come in.

Prof David Hui from the Chinese University, a government adviser on the pandemic, said the administration needs to strike a balance between infection control and the needs of local families.


“If you stop them from coming, you minimize the risk to the community. However, many Hong Kong families actually rely on foreign domestic helpers. So, if we stop the visitors coming from the Philippines, then a lot of Hong Kong families will be affected,” he said.

Hui was reacting to calls from other health experts, in particular University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung who has called for flights  from countries such as the Philippines and India where many travelers found infected on arrival be suspended.

Teresa Liu, head of the Association of Hong Kong Manpower Agencies, told RTHK that her group would discuss with Philippine authorities whether helpers could get vaccination priority.


Liu said Hong Kong employers would be willing to pay for the jabs if the 21-day hotel quarantine for helpers would be shortened.

Eman Villanueva from the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body said he was in favor of shortening the quarantine period back to 14 days as in most other places. But he said a flight ban will just create difficulties for both the worker and the employer.

Villanueva also said the current requirements of pre-flight negative test result and quarantine and additional tests in Hong Kong are enough safeguards against the spread of the coronavirus and the variant by arrivals from overseas. 

Pindutin para sa detalye

At today’s press briefing, local reporters raised the possibility of a flight ban for the third day running.

Chuang repeated that the 21-day hotel quarantine is enough safeguard

But as before, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection pointed to the 21-day hotel quarantine as an adequate health control measure. However, she said the government can take more measures as it sees fit.

Chuang said today’s new patients comprising five males and three females aged 1 to 71 took Hong Kong’s total caseload to 11,540. She said there were more than 10 preliminary positive cases who were mostly imported ones.

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Of the six imported cases, one was a Filipina domestic helper who arrived Mar 25 via Cebu Pacific flight 5J 272 from Manila. She was spending her hotel quarantine at the Grand City Hotel in Sai Ying Pun when her 12th day test showed she was positive of the virus.

The other imported cases were a man aged 60 who arrived from Egypt, two male passengers from India aged 44 and 1 year old who both arrived on Apr 5,and a girl aged 4 and a man aged 44 who arrived on Mar 23 from Pakistan.

Including today’s six imported cases the total number of patients found to have the N501Y variant in Hong Kong has gone up to 178, Chuang said.


She said 71 patients had the British type, 20 had the South African type, 5 had the Brazil type, 77 still have to be categorized and 12 can’t be classified due to inadequate virus sample.

Chuang said all 178 cases of coronavirus variants came from overseas

Today’s two local cases with no known sources were from Tuen Mun. They were a woman aged 71 who lives in Block 3, Oi Fai House in Yau Oi Estate and a man, 41, who lives on a high block in King Fu House, Shan King Estate.

Chuang said the woman, a retiree housewife, had a headache on Apr 3 and was confirmed positive on Apr 5. She had few friends and would do morning exercise in front of the Tuen Mun Government Offices Centre.

After that, she would go with other morning exercisers to nearby Chinese restaurants for breakfast or tea, Chuang said.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

“We have already sent notifications to those who visited these places at the relevant times,” the CHP official said.

The male patient works with about a dozen colleagues in Wheelock House, Central. He developed colds on Mar 29 and last worked on Apr 1. Chuang said his officemates would all be sent to quarantine and residents of his block would be subject to mandatory testing.

She said the man went on Apr 3 to Toys R Us at Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui and to Sino Centre to buy an electronic key.

Before that, he went to Café de Coral in Melbourne Plaza and to Fairwood in Mannings Mansion. On Mar 26, during the incubation period, he went to Sandy St for lunch with two friends, but so far there are no links with the two, Chuang said.

She said notifications had been sent to the places he had visited so those who left their names on a piece of paper would be asked to go to mandatory testing centers.

Chuang said there were more than 10 preliminary positive cases, including a 70-year-old woman who lives alone on Block 3 of Oi Fai House in Yau Oi, two storeys away from today’s case and not of the same orientation.

She said the woman has poor eyesight so she stays at home most of the time, with family members visiting her twice a week. A friend comes to cook her food and clean the flat at weekends, Chuang said. They will all be sent to a testing center, she said.        

Dr Sara Ho, a chief manager at the Hospital Authority, said 133 confirmed patients are being treated in 20 public hospitals and the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre. Nine are in critical condition, three are serious and 121 stable.



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