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Bookings for Penny’s Bay halted for at least a week

18 September 2021

 By The SUN

Bookings for Penny's Bay halted two days before it's set to open its doors to FDHs from overseas

Hong Kong’s Labour Secretary Law Chi-kwong has said that the booking at Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre for incoming foreign domestic helpers has been temporarily halted because of a glitch, and may not resume for at least another week.

Law Chi-kwong made the disclosure during a media briefing after a radio program this morning, just two days before the government-run quarantine facility was to start accepting FDHs for their 21-day compulsory isolation.

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Law said it was almost inevitable to have hiccups with the booking arrangements as the government is doing it for the first time with the quarantine facility.

“The Government has never run a hotel before and that is a real challenge to our department colleagues. I do actually appreciate the efforts they have made in such a short notice, making such a facility to run almost like a hotel. We will see how we can improve the process,” he said.


Problems have been reported from the day the bookings opened on Sept. 14 with all places until Oct 19 having been snapped within just a few minutes. The bookings reopened on Friday but many of those who had tried to secure rooms reported encountering difficulties.

An estimated 7,000 foreign domestic helpers, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, have been waiting for months to come in after Hong Kong classified the two countries as high-risk places, and barred passenger flights from there.


Apart from Penny’s Bay, Silka Tsuen Wan Hotel has also been designated as a quarantine facility for FDHs, but all its 400 rooms had been snapped up within minutes after they became available for booking. It is set to resume accepting bookings in November.

At the Lantau quarantine centre, 800 rooms have been set aside for FDHs, but only 50 helpers will be allowed to check in each day.

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Law said that there is no plan to increase this quota, calling it an optimal arrangement

“If we are to increase that number significantly, such as to 100 or so, we are running the risk of high infection among people coming in and subsequently we may have to suspend the flights,” he said.


“If we increase the number of people coming in and then unfortunately we have high infection rates on arrival, then all these flights will be suspended. That basically means there will be none coming in."

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He said the government will continue monitoring the development of the epidemic, the situation of FDHs flying in, the infection control measures and the infection rates before deciding whether any adjustments have to be made.

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