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12.4% of HK people suffer from anxiety due to Covid, study shows

Posted on 25 May 2022 No comments

By The SUN 

PTSD symptoms could include frequent hand disinfection or constant worrying about the Covid situation

At least one in ten people in Hong Kong suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study released by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Wednesday.

PolyU researchers contacted 3,011 residents by random between December 2020 and February 2021, the onset of the fourth wave of the pandemic, and found that around 12.4 percent of the respondents had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

They warned the number could be much higher after the fifth wave of infections, when the number of cases surged to tens of thousands, and around 300 patients were dying each day in hospitals.


The PTSD symptoms included constant worrying about the Covid situation or getting irritable or angry, and denying that the coronavirus was for real.

One of the researchers said checking on the number of infections or deaths could be considered as normal, but if people allow this concern to seep into their work or studies, then it could affect their daily lives.

Also, the more time people spent watching news about the Covid outbreak, the more severe their symptoms, said the researcher.


Another manifestation of the anxiety disorder is when people start disinfecting their  hands so frequently that their skin hurt.

The researchers said the problem is linked to social distancing measures. When these are tightened, people who are afflicted start worrying more, thinking that the situation must be very serious, and so they should avoid going out.

Anyone who shows PTSD symptoms such as behavioral changes is encouraged to seek help from professionals.

At today's press briefing, health officials reported 251 new infections and 2 deaths

The report came as health officials reported 251 new Covid infections, 28 of which were imported.

The new cases included a ninth patient linked to the spread of a new Omicron strain in McDonalds in Tai Koo Shing, and a sixth student at St Catherine’s International Kindergarten.


Two new Covid-related deaths were also reported, ending four days of no new fatality. Both of the deceased men, aged 90 and 78, suffered from underlying illnesses such as a heart failure or stroke.

Dr Albert Au of the Centre for Health Protection said the latest patient in the McDonald’s cluster was a 66-year-old woman who tested positive on a rapid antigen test on May 17 but reported the result only yesterday.


The kindergarten student, on the other hand, was in a different class from the six pupils and one teacher who were previously found infected.

However, Au said the latest patient may have used the same facilities as the previous cases.

22k quarantine rooms open to all, including FDHs, says health chief

Posted on No comments

By The SUN 

Health Secretary Sophia Chan says quarantine hotel rooms for foreign domestic helpers arriving from overseas has increased substantially from the 6,000 listed at the end of March.

Addressing a written inquiry from legislators on Wednesday, Chan said that since March 1, FDHs have been allowed to check into any designated quarantine hotel after arriving in Hong Kong. That means they can vie for any of the 22,000 rooms that have been made available for all people arriving from overseas.

Previously, FDHs were allowed to stay only in three or four hotels designated solely for their use, which severely restricted the number of those coming in to take up jobs in the city.


Chan said authorities will closely monitor the supply and demand for quarantine rooms and will make adjustments when necessary.

She also said the demand for rooms has risen over the past month.

“According to the room-booking statistics provided by the hotels, as of May 23, the overall booking rate of the [quarantine hotel rooms] for May and June is around 65 percent and 70 percent respectively,” Chan said in her written reply.


She also noted that over half of the 22,000 quarantine hotel rooms were provided at a standard rate of no more than $800 a night.

She made her remarks one day after outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam ruled out any further relaxation of cross-border restrictions until she steps down at the end of next month.

CE Lam says hotel quarantine will stay until she steps down on Jun 30

“About border controls, as you can see from the numbers we announce every day at the 4.30pm press conference, because the local infections are kept very low now, the imported cases account for a rather significant share of the total caseload. And on top of that, we are seeing different variants under BA.2, so we have to be extremely careful in, sort of, implementing the restrictions on border controls,” the CE said.

“I would say at this point in time that it is very unlikely that, during my term, there will be more relaxations on border controls. In other words, we will still have hotel quarantine; we will still require vaccination before a passenger could board a plane to Hong Kong; and we will still impose "test-and-hold", whether at the airport or at the hotel, for a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction nucleic acid test) in order to keep Hong Kong safe.”


Meanwhile, Chan said the Penny's Bay community isolation facility and one community isolation hotel are being used to accommodate persons that have to be isolated because they need looking after, or due to their household environments.  

The remaining community isolation facilities at Tsing Yi, San Tin, Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities Island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Fanling, Hung Shui Kiu, and Yuen Long have been put on standby for the time being, she said.


“As the epidemic has not yet come to an end, the government still needs to reserve these community isolation facilities so as to ensure that Hong Kong can cope with a possible sixth wave of the epidemic if it arrives,” Chan added.

Bigo sa paghahabol ng LS pero suwerte sa nilipatang amo

Posted on No comments


Si Lorna Otum at court interpreter na tumulong sa kanya.

Bigo ang isang Pilipina sa paghahabol ng bayad para sa long service na hindi binayaran ng dating amo na pinagsilbihan niya ng walong taon, dahil nakaalis na ito sa Hong Kong.

Napailing na lang si Lorna Otum nang sabihin sa kanya ng presiding officer ng Labour Tribunal na si Jo Siu na hindi siya matutulungan ng korte na makuha ang $35,000 na hinahabol niya dahil hindi nabigyan ng kaukulang pasabi ang kanyang dating employer tungkol sa pagdinig.

Ang halaga ay kabuuan ng long service payment mula sa among si Veronica Homersley, na umuwi na sa United Kingdom kasama ang asawa at dalawa nilang anak, air ticket at mga gastusin sa paglalakbay niya pauwi ng Bohol.


“Hindi ako ang gumawa ng batas,” ika ni Siu bilang panimula sa pagpapaliwanag kung bakit hindi siya makakatulong kay Otum.

Ayon sa batas, ika niya, hindi pwedeng simulan ang pagdinig sa Labour Tribunal kung walang patunay na naipaalam ito sa magkabilang panig.

Binasahan din niya ang Pilipina ng mga nakaraang desisyon ng High Court sa mga kahalintulad na kaso.

“Wala akong kapangyarihang dinggin ang kasong ito,” dagdag ni Siu.


Sa huli ay pinapili niya si Otum kung ano ng susunod na gagawin: Iaakyat niya ang kaso sa District Court, o babawiin niya ang kanyang reklamo upang tuluyan nang ititigil ang pahahabol sa amo.

Nang pinili ni Otum na iurong ang reklamo, pinapirma siya ng dokumentong nagsasaad na tinatapos na niya ang kaso.

Sinabi ni Otum sa The SUN na hindi naman siya nagulat sa kinalabasan ng kaso, dahil noong matapos ang kanyang kontrata sa dating amo noon pang Enero at nagreklamo siya sa Labour Department dahil hindi siya nabayaran ng tama ay tumanggi na ang amo na dumalo sa isang pulong para sila mag-usap. 

Si Lorna Otum nang makapanayam matapos ang pagdinig sa kanyang kaso

Tumanggi rin si Homersely na tanggapin ang mga sulat sa kanya tungkol sa reklamo, hanggang makaalis siya at kanyang pamilya papuntang UK, at hindi na ito maipasailalim sa kapangyarihan ng korte.

Sa kasong ito ay nakatanggap ng tulong si Otum sa Mission for Migrant Workers.

Nanghihinayang lang si Otum na sa ganitong hidwaan nagtapos ang magandang samahan nila nang walong taon, kung kailan lumaki sa kanyang pangangalaga ang dalawang anak ng amo, na edad walo at pitong taong gulang.


Pero ayon kay Otum, maligaya pa rin siya dahil masuwerte siya sa dalawang amo na nakuha niya bilang kapalit, at hindi siya nabakante habang tumatakbo ang kanyang kaso.

Ang unang amo na nakatira sa Midlevels, ay binigyan siya ng sahod na $9,000 buwan-buwan. Nang umalis ito sa Hong Kong kasama ang pamilya matapos ang tatlong buwan ay itinuloy pa nitong binayaran ang kanyang sahod ng dalawa pang buwan.


Ang ikalawang nakuha niyang amo, na taga Sai Kung, ay pumirma sa kontrata na nagsasaad na babayaran siya ng  $8,000 kada buwan, at nakatakda siyang lumipat dito kapag nakuha na niya ang kanyang bagong employment visa sa Biyernes, May 27.

Iyon nga lang, ika niya, sayang din ang nawalang $35,000 dahil malaking tulong sana ito sa pagsasanay ng panganay niyang lalaki na bagong tapos ng Nautical Science sa Bohol, at pag-aaral ng dalawang sumunod na babae na nasa senior high school. 

Maari din sana niya itong nagamit para makapagtayo ng negosyo para sa kanyang asawang nagtatrabaho bilang casual employee sa munisipyo.


Omicron sub-variant spreads in McDonald’s at Cityplaza

Posted on No comments

By The SUN

3 of the 8 infected diners at the McDonald's branch carry the new Omicron strain 

Health officials have confirmed that a new strain of the Omicron variant has spread in McDonald’s restaurant at Cityplaza in Tai Koo Shing.

Three people who had dined at the fast food outlet on May 13 at about the same time as a 64-year-old woman who had the BA.2.12.1 sub-variant were reportedly infected.

The three, comprising a woman and two young family members, live at Mount Parker Lodge in Quarry Bay. A genetic analysis of their infection showed they carried the same strain found in the index patient, so health authorities are convinced an outbreak of the mutant virus has occurred there.


Dr Albert Au of the Centre for Health Protection said at today’s press briefing, “We believe there’s been an outbreak of the BA.12.12.1 at this restaurant.”

Three more people linked to the outbreak were among the 250 new Covid-19 infections reported today. They took the number of patients in the cluster to eight.

The new cases include a 33-month-old boy, his mother and their foreign domestic helper.


According to Au, the boy was taken to the fastfood outlet by the helper at about 10:30am on May 13. Two days later the boy had fever and cough, and tested positive the next day.

He was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on May 17 where his infection was confirmed. But he was discharged the next day after his symptoms eased.

The boy’s mother accompanied her son to the hospital where she also tested positive, while the helper who had no symptoms, was found infected earlier. 


Apart from these six patients, two others who ate at McDonald’s on the same day were tested positive on Monday. They were a 76-year-old woman who lives in Kowloon and a 67-year-old man who lives in Tai Koo.

The patients in the cluster sat at five different tables, said Au. 

A compulsory testing notice has been issued to all those who were at the McDonald’s outlet on the relevant date and time while the restaurant has been closed for disinfecting. Test results on the 21 environmental samples taken from the restaurant have yet to be released.


The index patient in the cluster is a 64-year-old woman who tested positive 12 days after flying in from the United States with her husband, who was also found infected with the sub-variant.

Genetic sequencing found that the couple had caught the Omicron BA.12.12.1 at Lan Kwai Fong hotel in Central, where two travelers from Nepal were earlier found infected with the mutated strain.

Of today’s new cases, 34 were imported, and 24 of these were detected at the airport while six tested positive during hotel quarantine. Two others tested positive on their eighth day, while preparing to travel to the mainland. Officials say both were re-positive cases.

Au said eight more BA.2.12.1 cases were found Monday. Four were imported, including two from the same family who flew in from the U.S.

The remaining four were local cases or import-related cases. They included the three patients in the McDonald’s cluster and a fifth case linked to Lan Kwai Fong hotel.

While preliminary data from the World Health Organization show that the Omicron sub-variant was more infectious, there was no statistic that suggested that it leads to serious illness or death, said Au.

As for schools, 18 new cases were reported by 13 schools, and six of these had come from St. Catherine's International Kindergarten. The latest patients involve 16 students and two teachers.

Hospital Authority's Dr Larry Lee reported no new Covid-related death on Monday, so the city's death toll remained at 9,157.  

There were 484 patients being treated in public hospitals as of Monday. Ten of them are in critical condition while eight are in serious condition. Three of the critical patients are in intensive care. 


Mag-Real Name Registration para makasali sa $1,000,000 worth of prizes mula sa Barkadahan sa SmarTone

Posted on 24 May 2022 No comments

Congrats sa mga unang batch ng Winners ng Samsung A22 5G phones! 

Kaya wag kalimutang mag Real Name Registration ng inyong mga SIM cards. Hanggang June 23, 2022 pa ang pa raffle. 

Lahat ng prepaid SIM cards ngayon ay kailangan nang i-register. Ayon ito sa bagong batas na inilabas ng Telecommunications Regulations. Ang mga bagong Sim cards naman bago ito magamit ay dapat i-register din. 

Madali lang mag register gamit ang iyong HKID o passport. May site lang na kailangan buksan para mag register, tap here o i-scan ang QR code sa ibaba o pumunta sa

I-upload ang HKID o passport sa site ng pag RNR at sundin ang steps. Madali lang ito. Kung gusto mo naman ng video tutorial para lalong malaman kung paano, panoorin ang video dito

Sa mga nag-register mula April 1, sila ay pasok sa Lucky Draw at may $1,000,000 worth of prizes. Total of 1,200 winners. 24 winners ng Samsung A22 5G phones, 660 winners ng $128 All-In-1 Super Plan at 600 winners ng $50 Jollibee Coupons. 

Weekly ang draw hanggang sa June 24, 2022. Kapag hindi ka nabunot sa unang draw, pasok ka pa rin sa mga susunod.

Kapag ikaw ay nag RNR na, magiging VIP ka na rin ng SmarTone at may regalo ka na $20 voucher at 800 Spoint na Birthday Gift. 

Mas madali rin kung mag install ng My SIM Account app.  Kung wala ka pa nito, tap here:

Kung kailangan mo ng tulong, pwede kang pumunta sa Barkadahan shop 159 WWH Central o shop 7 G/F Lik Sang Plaza Tsuen Wan o sa mga promoters sa mga suking Pinoy tindahan sa HK. 

Para naman malaman iba pang mga offers sa Barkadahan, tingnan ang aming leaflets o press 

Mas bongga talaga sa Barkadahan, pramis! 

Barkadahan sa SmarTone for the OFW, with the OFW!

24 oras sa labas nga ba ang day off na nakasaad sa batas?

Posted on No comments


Dinidinig ang kaso sa Labour Tribunal sa Kowloon

Gaano ba kahaba dapat ang araw ng pahinga ng isang domestic helper sa Hong Kong, at kailangan bang gugulin ito lahat sa labas ng bahay ng amo? 

Ayon sa mga panuntunan ng Labour Department, ito ay isang araw – at hindi dapat kukulangin sa 24 oras -- sa bawa’t anim na araw na trabaho.

Pinanghawakan ito kanina ni Mary Ann Mataya nang magreklamo siya sa Labour Tribunal matapos na i-terminate siya ng amo niyang si Winnie Chan Si-yu.


Siningil niya si Chan para sa lahat ng mga day off at statutory holiday nya maliban pa sa ibang bagay gaya ng pamasahe pauwi at pagkaltas ng $300 sa suweldo niya bilang kabayaran sa mga gamit na nabasag niya. Ayon sa kanya, hindi daw kasi binigay sa kanya ng buo ang 24 oras na pahinga niya.

Nang tanungin ni Presiding Officer Eleanor Yeung ang amo tungkol dito, ipinakita nito ang mga resibo ng binayaran niyang suweldo at mga day off, na pinirmahan ni Mataya.

Inamin ni Mataya ang pirma niya, pero sinabi niyang hindi niya naintindihan ito nang pumirma siya dahil nakasulat sa Intsik at sinabi lang sa kanya ng amo na ito ay para sa suweldo niya. Hindi rin siya binigyan ng kopya.


Pero sinabi ng presiding officer na ang pinag-uusapan ay kung pinirmahan niya ang dokumento, dahil responsibilidad niya na busisiin ang lahat ng pinipirmahan niya. 

Kung gusto ni Mataya na maipakitang may panloloko tungkol dito ay dapat magkaroon ng paglilitis," dagdag ni Chan.

“Ang gusto ko lang naman ay ang statutory holiday na bayaran ng amo ko, dahil mayroon akong 10pm na curfew,” sagot niya, sa pamamagitan ng interpreter.


Dito nagtanong ang presiding officer kung nag day off nga ba ang Pilipina.

Ang sagot niya ay hindi siya binigyan ng 24 na oras na day off.

Nang tinanong siya kung pinagtrabaho siya pagkatapos ng curfew niya na 10pm, ang sagot niya ay hindi.

Tinanong din siya na kung hindi tama na pabalikin siya sa bahay ng 10pm, ano ang dapat na oras na bumalik siya.


Ang sagot ni Mataya: “Basta’t hindi ako lumampas ng 24 oras..”

Ang lumalabas, ayon kay Chan, hinihingi ni Mataya ang buong araw na day off na parang hindi siya nag-day off nang lumabas siya hanggang sa curfew niyang 10pm.

“Sa palagay ko,” sagot ni Chan, na isinalin sa Tagalog ng intepreter, “ay mali ang pagkaintindi mo sa batas. Kailangan mong humingi ng payong legal. Magbigay ka ng kaso na pinagbatayan mo at kumbinsihin mo ang korteng ito."

Itinakda ni Chan ang susunod na pagdinig sa Sept. 7.

Filipina accused of stealing $500k released ‘unconditionally,’ police say

Posted on No comments

By The SUN


The decision to release the Filipina was made by officers at the Eastern Police station in North Pt

Police dealt swift justice to a Filipina domestic worker accused of stealing $500,000 cash from her employer exactly a week ago.

According to a police spokesperson, the 26-year-old Filipina who was arrested at about midnight on Tuesday, May 17, was “released unconditionally.”


That indicated investigators found no evidence to further detain her, or that her employer had obviously made up the accusation.

According to initial reports, the Filipina’s 31-year-old female employer had called up the police to report the alleged theft at about 11pm that day.


Police who responded to the call took the Filipina to the Eastern Police Station for further questioning by the criminal investigation team. No other information was given.

But after a follow-up inquiry, the police spokesperson said the accused had already been freed without bail or any other conditions being imposed.


People who reacted to the first story on the alleged theft were mostly skeptical, saying it was not likely that an employer would leave that much cash lying around in her house.


But a few did not express surprise, having seen a number of foreign domestic workers being hauled to court for allegedly stealing much larger amount.

HK’s caseload drops below 200

Posted on 23 May 2022 No comments

By The SUN

Officials fear an Omicron sub-variant had spread to 5 people who ate at McDonald's in Cityplaza

For the first time since the Omicron surge in early February, the confirmed number of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong has fallen below 200.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection reported 190 new infections on Monday, including 28 imported cases. They took the overall tally in the fifth wave to more than 1,197,000.

The new cases include two more linked to an outbreak at McDonald’s in Tai Koo Shing where a 64-year-old woman had dined before being found infected with the Omicron BA.2.12.1 sub-variant.


The patients are a 76-year-old woman who lives in Richland Gardens in Kowloon Bay and a 67-year-old man who lives in Po Yang Mansion in Tai Koo Shing.

Chuang said both patients had visited the fast food outlet on May 13, at about the same time as the index patient.

However, they had occupied round tables and not the long tables with high benches occupied by the first patient, who experts said had been infected with the mutated strain while in quarantine at Lan Kwai Fong Hotel with her husband.


The latest female patient started coughing on May 17 and was admitted to the North Lantau Hospital on May 19 after testing positive in a mandatory test. Four places she had visited between May 13 and May 19 have been subject to compulsory testing.

Earlier, a woman and two young family members who had also visited the McDonald’s outlet on May 13 tested positive for Covid.

However, the genomic sequencing results which should show whether the family members had been infected with the BA.2.12.1 sub-variant have yet to be released.

Chuang said the government is concerned about the possible spread of the mutated strain of the Omicron in the community and is conducting further investigation. 

Of the 28 imported cases reported yesterday, Chuang said 19 were detected at the airport and the rest during the seven-day hotel quarantine for new arrivals.


She also said 20 more schools reported 21 new cases. They involve 19 students and two teachers.

Dr Larry Lee of the Hospital Authority had no Covid-related death to report, so the casualty toll from the fifth wave remains at 9,157.

Lee said 514 patients are confined at various public hospitals and treatment facilities. Among them, seven are in critical condition and seven are seriously ill.



Xyza Bacani, ex-HK OFW, is now a proud NYU master's degree holder

Posted on No comments

 By Daisy CL Mandap


Proud NYU scholar and master's degree holder
(photo taken by Xyza's husband, Nicholas, who is also professional photograher)

She’s come a long way, baby.

From being a second-generation migrant worker in Hong Kong to a Magnum Foundation scholar on human rights at New York University to becoming a highly sought-after photographer, then book author, Xyza Cruz Bacani has scaled an even greater height.

On May 18, she graduated from NYU’s Tisch School with a Master’s Degree in Arts and Politics. Not only did she get a scholarship to the prestigious university and program, she was also allowed to take the post-graduate course without a bachelor’s degree.


Fellow Filipino and NYU’s former science dean, Michael Purugganan, was so proud of Xyza’s achievement that he posted this on Facebook:

“In less than 10 years Xyza Cruz Bacani has gone from being a migrant OFW domestic worker to world-renowned photographer, with her photos gracing the NY Times and CNN, as well as galleries and museums around the world. Two years ago NYU was so impressed with her that even without a college degree they accepted her (with scholarship) into the rigorous M.A. in Arts Politics program at the Tisch school. On Wednesday she will be in Yankee Stadium to get her diploma!”


Purugganan poses happily with a NYU colleague and the two scholars
(from VP Leni Robredo's FB  post)

Purugganan said he wanted to shift some of the attention to Xyza, as the rest of the world had been focusing on another outstanding NYU student – Jill Robredo, youngest daughter of Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo, who graduated with a double degree in economics and mathematics, also on a full scholarship.

Xyza, who is 35, was understandably happy herself about her latest achievement. NYU is not an easy school to get into, and cracking a master’s degree without having gone through the rigors of a four-year undergraduate course would have obviously made the task doubly harder.

“I got into NYU because of my vast portfolio and the grace of an entire village of good-hearted people. They uplifted (me) and took a chance on me. They wrote recommendation letters, encouraged, and helped me financially. They openly shared their knowledge, resources, and influences. I am grateful for that,” she told The SUN via messenger.


“Being part of NYU was challenging and exciting. The seeds and offerings are stimulating to the mind. It opened up an academic side of me. The Arts and Politics cohorts and faculties are all accomplished people in their own rights. It is heartwarming to be part of a community that allows ideas to flourish.”

Less seriously, she posted on her own Facebook account that she wanted tarpaulins like those used by politicians hung in her hometown of Nueva Vizcaya “because I am the first in our family to get a graduate degree! Lol! My ancestors must be proud.


Xyza's parents (extreme left) and former employer (beside her) joined the
launch of her book in HK in 2018, along with then Consul General Tony Morales 

Xyza, who celebrated the new milestone with her new husband and longtime partner Nicholas Papananias, also posted wistfully that she wished her parents were around to see her graduate.

“Next week, I will officially have a diploma. I fulfilled a dream, not just mine but of my parents. A farmer and an OFW got a daughter with Masters in Arts Politics from NYU. I still wish that they could see me wear a violet gown that doesn't compliment my skin tone but wearing it proud and loud. This is for my descendants. I broke the chain, mama!”

Clearly, the rebellious daughter who left home at the age of 19 to follow her mother’s footsteps as an OFW so she could help send her two younger siblings to school is happy to have finally ended the cycle of poverty that used to determine her life’s path.

Through sheer talent, grit and hard work, she got to where she is now – a respected photographer and recipient of various awards, including a resolution passed by the Philippine House of Representatives in her honor and being named as one of the BBC’s 100 Women of the World.

She has also received grants from various prestigious groups like the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the WMA Commission, which funded her book, “We Are Like Air.”

Xyza believes all OFWs are capable of being the best they could be. They just need to dream.


I can never advise my fellow migrants because they are among the smartest and bravest people in the world. The courage they show every day is worth emulating,” she said.

“This is not advice but words of encouragement. Be your own heroes. We honor our sacrifices for our families by dreaming for ourselves. Everything starts with having a dream and not letting our circumstances define us. Speak kindly to ourselves and rest when there is an opportunity. Self-care is vital because we can only give when we are replenished. Do something for ourselves from time to time and pursue any hobby you’re interested in.”

Check out more stories on Xyza and her inspiring achievements here:

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