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No more quarantine places for incoming FDHs from Manila and Jakarta

30 August 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Silka Tsuen Wan has no more places until Nov 1

It looks like Hong Kong’s recognition of their vaccines is not the biggest hurdle facing thousands of stranded foreign domestic helpers in the Philippines and Indonesia, but the lack of quarantine space for them in the city.

Silka Tsuen Wan hotel, the only quarantine hotel designated by the Hong Kong government for use by the incoming FDHs, is said to be fully booked until Nov. 1.

Only about 280 of the more than 400 rooms in the hotel have been allocated for the helpers’ use, in line with Hong Kong’s quarantine regulations that limit hotel occupancy rate to around 70%.


This means it will take months before the estimated 3,000 stranded workers in the Philippines alone could enter Hong Kong, which allowed FDHs who were fully vaccinated in their home countries to start coming in from today, Aug 30.

The Silka rooms were reportedly snapped up just one or two days after they were made available, despite the unexplained jacking up of the hotel’s daily rate, which left many employers complaining.

In a government press release issued last Thursday, the daily rate given for the 3-star hotel was $800, which was nearly double its usual charge. In fact, a search of two other hotels in the Silka chain listed a daily rate of just $490 for the 21-day quarantine.

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Earlier this year, the rate charged to travelers who used the same hotel for the previous 14-day quarantine for travellers from the Philippines was just $364, with a $800 discount to employment agency bookings.

Silka Seaview Hotel in Yau Ma Tei still lists its daily rate as $490 for 21-day quarantine

But the price is not the main consideration now, said employment agency operator Thomas Chan, but the difficulty of obtaining a room in Silka Tsuen Wan.

“Room reservation system (in Silka) is a mystery. We send email there and wait for their reply. No phone call is accepted. When we send emails, we don’t know if the room is available or now, which is totally different from the normal practice,” said Chan.


The head of the Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies said this kind of a system could result in reservation staff at the hotel to favor friends, or those who give them favors.

Chan suggested a points system to be adopted for the FDHs who are waiting in line to come in. Those who have been waiting for a long time, or are needed to look after the elderly or babies, should be given priority.

The compulsory quarantine in Silka Tsuen Wan for all FDHs who were vaccinated in their home countries is giving additional distress to some, especially those who could quarantine in other designated hotels which are better priced and are more accessible.

One of them is Gina O. who had already been booked in a hotel where the room measures 200 sq ft., which is twice as big as the ones in Silka, and costs much less, at $600 a night.

Gina was distraught to learn that even after working in Hong Kong for more than 20 years she is still forced to stay in Silka just because she failed to get vaccinated here before she went home for a vacation.

She felt more aggrieved by the feeling that FDHs like her are being discriminated against because they are being separated from the rest of people arriving in Hong Kong.

“Why are they segregating us from all other arrivals from abroad?” she asked.

Despite booking with Silka as soon as she heard the news that she did not have any choice but to stay there so she could come back to Hong Kong, Gina said she had yet to receive a confirmation from the hotel.


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