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Migrant support group urges paid rest days for FDWs after Covid-19 jab

30 May 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap

Mission says FDWs need the post-jab rest because they do hard physical work

A migrant support organization has called on the Hong Kong government to order two rest days for all foreign domestic workers after each coronavirus vaccine, in line with a reported plan to give the same benefit to civil servants.

The call came as another zero infection day was reported today, May 30. This marks the 29th day that no untraceable local case of Covid-19 has been reported in the city.


The number of cases in Hong Kong is steady at 11,838.

The Centre for Health Protection officially amended the classification of five recent cases into imported cases after they were earlier described as local, with sources unknown.

All had finished their 21-day hotel quarantine long before they tested positive, but with low viral load and with antibodies, suggesting an old infection.

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Government health experts said yesterday they were infected at least two months before they tested positive during routine tests after leaving quarantine.

Included in these cases are four foreign domestic helpers who tested positive during the second round of compulsory testing for all FDHs. They arrived in Hong Kong on various dates between Feb 20 and Apr 25 this year.


Two of them are Indonesians aged 29 and 39 years old, respectively; while the other two are Filipinas aged 37 and 46, who were also found to carry the mutant N501Y strain.

The fifth was a Pakistani construction worker aged 43 who arrived from his home country on Mar 16 and was found positive on May 25.

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Meanwhile, a government source quoted by a local newspaper said Hong Kong’s civil servants will receive paid leave for each of their two Covid-19 vaccinations in a new attempt to boost the sluggish inoculation rate.

But the government workers must get the jab before a date to be announced by the administration this week. Those who have already received their shots are also eligible for the time off.


The news comes amid reports that even among frontliners working for the Health Department, only about a third have received their first vaccine shot.

The low take-up rate for the vaccine has prompted various groups to dangle incentives

Cynthia Tellez, general manager of the Mission for Migrant Workers, said the government must likewise oblige employers to give their FDWs a similar break when they take a vaccine shot.

“This is exactly what they need,” Tellez said. “Instead of forcing migrant workers to get vaccinated, the government should give them incentive.”

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Tellez was referring to a now-aborted plan by the government to force all FDWs to get vaccinated. An outcry from various sectors, including from the consulates of countries that send FDWs to Hong Kong, resulted in the plan being called off.

Tellez said that FDWs, more than office workers, need to be assured that they are entitled to rest days should they experience after-effects from a vaccine since they do more laborious work.

As of the latest government tally, only 986,600 (or 15% of the 6.5 million qualified residents) have received two shots of a coronavirus vaccine. A further 1,342,200 have received their first dose (about 20%), for a combined total of 2,328,700.

Health experts say at least 70% of all qualified residents should get vaccinated before a place attains herd immunity from Covid-19.

The low vaccination rate has prompted the private sector to offer various incentives such as free plane tickets to a $10.8 million flat and cash prizes in a raffle draw, to get more people to go for the jab.

The government, for its part, has dangled the prospects of quarantine-free travel to some countries or more relaxed social distancing regulations to those who are fully vaccinated, or have had two vaccine doses 14 days earlier.


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