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Consulate confirms case of 1st Filipina to acquire coronavirus in HK

18 February 2020

By The SUN

Filipino domestic workers have been told to avoid going out  on their rest day
- but it seems the patient was infected by her employer


A 32-year-old Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong has been infected with the novel coronavirus or Covid-19. She is the first Filipino to acquire the disease, and the 61st in Hong Kong.

Consul General Raly Tejada confirmed the information with The SUN after checking with Hong Kong's Department of Health.

“The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong received official notice this afternoon that a Filipina domestic worker tested positive for the COVID-19. The Consulate General immediately sent a team to the hospital to check on her condition. Rest assured that the Philippine Government will render all necessary assistance to the Filipino national. No further details are available at this time,” said Congen Tejada in a message.

The news came as a blow to the community, as it could mean further restrictions being made on foreign domestic workers who have already been advised by the Hong Kong government to remain at home instead of taking a day off.

Just a day earlier, Congen Tejada told Filipino community leaders that seven Filipinos had been put under quarantine, but all were healthy.

The Filipina who was infected was reportedly the caregiver of a 67-year-old woman who tested positive for the virus on Feb. 13. 

The elderly woman had joined a dinner at Star Seafood Restaurant in North Point with 28 other people on Jan. 26. At least five other people who were there had also tested positive for the virus, including the woman's 37-year-old son.

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The domestic worker initially tested negative for the virus, but was found to have it three days later. She is now confined at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan.

The helper lived with her employer  at Mt. Parker Lodge in Quarry Bay.

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Dolores Balladares, chair of United Filipinos in Hong Kong, said it was unfortunate that the Filipina had acquired the disease, and urged the Hong Kong government and the Phlippine consulate to give her all the necessary help.

She also said this should not be used by Hong Kong authorities and employers to prevent foreign domestic workers from taking their weekly day off. 

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The news set alarm bells ringing in the community, as it came on the day the Inter-Agency Task Force in the Philippines was set to review a travel ban imposed on Hong Kong on Feb. 2 as part of measures to control the spread of Covid-19. 

Fortunately, the expected lifting of the ban went ahead despite the first positive case of Covid-19 infection of a Filipino in Hong Kong. 
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