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HK urged to give isolation facilities for displaced migrant workers

18 February 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The 2 Filipina workers spent more than 1 day huddled in the cold outside Queen Mary

The Hong Kong government has been urged to provide isolation facilities for foreign domestic workers who have tested positive and have no place to stay either because their employers kicked them out, or they were about to go home after being terminated.

The call was made during an online press conference held earlier today by the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body, which said the affected workers ended up camping out amid the cold and rain outside the emergency rooms of public hospitals which did not want to admit them, or sleeping in a park.

“Where is the government when we need help?,” asked Eman Villanueva, AMCB spokesperson. “This is very cruel and inhumane.”


“We have been taking care of Hong Kong families for decades, but when we get sick, we are left out in the cold and deprived of financial assistance.”

Villanueva mentioned in particular the plight of one FDW who had to spend two days in a park in Yau Ma Tei as she had nowhere to go after testing positive just before her intended departure back home.

The worker was reportedly denied a new employment visa after she terminated her previous contract due to ill-treatment by her employer.

Villanueva acknowledged reports that the government is negotiating to secure hotel rooms to be turned into isolation rooms for patients with mild or no symptoms, but said he hoped migrant workers, including those who no longer have visas, would be accommodated there.

He also said their stay there should be free as the cost of staying in a hotel for up to 14 days is beyond the workers’ means.

Earlier, The SUN reported on five other Filipino workers who were forced to spend overnight on Monday outside Queen Mary Hospital in Pokfulam, or the North Lantau Hospital Infection Control Centre.

Pindutin para sa detalye

One was forced out by her employer while the rest were not allowed to move back in by fellow helpers in their respective boarding houses. Three were about to leave for the Philippines and decided to take their pre-flight Covid-19 tests at the airport when they tested positive.

Another worker sent a picture of some folding chairs she said she had to sleep on while waiting inside a tent reserved for coronavirus patients outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

AMCB wants isolation rooms and help for Covid-positive migrant workers (FILE)

The workers at North Lantau Hospital have since been admitted to an isolation facility, according to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration of the Philippine Consulate, while the two outside Queen Mary were accommodated in a boarding house secured for them by Help for Domestic Workers.

Separately, the worker in Yau Ma Tei was also given shelter by Help, a non-government organization, said a news report.


The fourth worker who was at Queen Elizabeth has yet to give an update on her whereabouts and condition.

AMCB chairperson Dolores Balladares-Pelaez also called on the Hong Kong government and the consulates of sending countries not to call on migrant workers to stay at home on their rest days as this gives employers reason to demand that they do not take a day-off.

“It is very important for us migrant domestic workers to take a day-off,” said Pelaez, adding that it is the only day in the week when they can get away from the stress of having to work long hours, especially now that many employers work from home.


Such a call also “stigmatize” FDWs as virus carriers, she said.

Sringatin, an Indonesian spokesperson of AMCB, also said the call for migrants to stay at home belies the fact that the record infections came from family gatherings by locals over the Chinese New Year.

She also decried employers ordering their workers to buy their own rapid antigen testing kits so as to prove they are not carrying the virus into their homes.


Eni Lestari of International Migrants Alliance hit out at the alleged singling out of migrant workers in the enforcement of anti-gathering restrictions, pointing out to such operations being carried out only during the weekends at known FDW haunts.

She also warned that police are preparing to intensify their enforcement operations this coming weekend.

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