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Penny’s Bay week-long quarantine slots closed within minutes again

11 October 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap

CE Carrie Lam inspecting Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre shortly after it opened (File)

The 350 slots that opened today, Oct 11, at Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre for foreign domestic helpers were again filled within minutes of the booking being opened. The bookings accepted today were for check-ins from Oct 29 to Nov 4.

Shortly after 9:00am when the booking opened, many Filipina DHs sent messages to The SUN to ask whether there was a problem with the online system, or whether it did not open as promised, as they could not get in.

As before, a few asked what the reference number on the dedicated booking website was. It turned out they had pressed “enquiry” because they could not activate the “start booking” button.

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But the window linked to the Department of Labour website is clear. “When the booking quotas have been filled, applicants cannot enter the page of ‘start booking’ of the booking system,” says an advisory posted on website.

In short, the booking was again closed because there were no more rooms available at Penny’s Bay. The booking will resume on next Monday, Oct 18.

The difficulty of securing quarantine space has dealt another blow to many Filipino helpers who have been waiting for months to enter Hong Kong.


One of them is Carlos Frondozo, who said in a comment on The SUN’s Facebook page that he had been stuck in the Philippines for nine months because he couldn’t get a quarantine booking.

Not a few, including Mhai Bautista, Ayona Boter and Cheng Hai repeated a call for more rooms being allotted to stranded workers, saying they are already “baon na baon na sa utang” (heavily in debt).

Another called Rosa Lee said she was hoping to book a quarantine room soon, as she was getting stressed because her medical certificate and employment visa were about to expire again.


Today was the third Monday in a row when the weekly slots of 50 a day for the designated quarantine facility for FDHs were filled within minutes of the booking system’s opening.

Silka Tsuen Wan hotel, which has also been designated as a quarantine facility for incoming helpers, has long been booked until the end of this month, so getting a room there is even more difficult, as well as pricier.

A room at Penny’s Bay costs $480 a day for FDHs who need to stay there for 21 days, while at Silka, the daily rate is $800.

Silka costs nearly twice as much as Penny's Bay

Labour Secretary Law Chi-kwong has said that Hong Kong is allotting a maximum of 50 rooms a day for the FDHs arriving from high-risk countries, so as to minimize the risk of imported cases entering the city.

He cited the positivity rate among newly arrived FDHs of more than 4 percent between September and October as a basis for limiting their entry, even while acknowledging the huge demand for them from local families.

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Between 4,000 and 6,000 FDHs are reported to have been stranded in both the Philippines and India after Hong Kong designated them as high risk, and tightened restrictions on passenger arrivals from both places.

The flight ban took longer in the Philippines, which was classified as high risk on Apr 20, while Indonesia was added to the list on Jun 25.

While the designation remains, FDHs from both places were allowed to start coming back on Aug 30, although in very limited numbers.

On top of this, all FDHs who were vaccinated outside of Hong Kong are required to spend their 21-day quarantine either at Penny’s Bay or Silka Tsuen Wan hotel.

Those who wish to book a room at Penny's Bay may log on to:

For Silka, the booking link is here:
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