Responsive Ad Slot




Buhay Pinay



Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

Labour Secretary says high infection rate led to flight ban on Phl

31 January 2022

By The SUN


Law says it's uncertain if the situation in the Phl will ease enough for the ban to be lifted (file)

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong says the number of foreign domestic helpers entering Hong Kong may rise by 50% next month when the compulsory quarantine for all new arrivals is shortened to 14 days from the current 21 days.

Writing in his blog Sunday, Law said that the projected increase in the number of FDH arrivals is also due to an additional 491 hotel rooms set aside for them in two new designated quarantine facilities, O’Hotel in To Kwa Wan and iclub Hotel in Ma Tau Wai.

He said the twin measures will likely ease the severe shortage of FDHs in the territory. From about 400,000 in January 2020 just before the pandemic hit, the total FDH population dipped to 339,000 by the end of December last year.


But he hinted it is not likely that helpers from the Philippines will be among those who could immediately take advantage of the relaxed entry restrictions. 

He recalled that a flight ban was imposed on the Philippines and seven other countries on Jan 8, as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus raged around the world. He said the number of cases in the Philippines skyrocketed during this time, “doubling every two to three days.”

In early January, he said only 175 Filipino helpers arrived in Hong Kong, but 79 tested positive during the same period, a “shocking” rate of over 40%.


Thus on Jan. 6 or two days before the flight ban was imposed, he said all five direct flights from the Philippines had already been suspended for two weeks in line with Hong Kong’s “circuit breaker” mechanism.

He said the number of confirmed cases in the Philippines peaked at about 35,000 cases per day on Jan. 18. “Although it has dropped by about one-third since, it is hard to predict whether this will continue or when it will drop to a level low enough for flights to resume,” he said.

Comparatively, he said the epidemic situation in Indonesia deteriorated more slowly than in the Philippines, but is getting worse.However, flights from Indonesia continue.

Press for details

Law warned Hong Kong must remain vigilant in guarding against imported cases.

"It can be imagined that tens of thousands of families in Hong Kong are having difficulty in taking care of their family members without the support from foreign domestic helpers. But to avoid overwhelming the public healthcare system, we have to be careful in preventing imported cases," he said.

His blog post came amid a further drop in the number of cases in the Philippines. On Sunday, a total of 16,953 cases were reported across the country of 110 million people. 


The highest single-day tally in the country was on Jan 15, when 39,004 cases were recorded.

Meanwhile, Indonesia, which has double the Philippines' population, recorded 11,588 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, the highest single-day increase since August last year, when the country struggled with the spread of the Delta variant. 

Earlier this month, the number of cases was at a low three digits.


Don't Miss