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Friends of Filipina DH with coronavirus sought

19 February 2020

By The SUN

The shuttered Star Seafood Restaurant in North Point where the Filipina's elderly ward caught the virus
 About 10 friends of a 32-year-old Filipina domestic worker who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus or Covid-19, are being sought by Hong Kong health authorities. The group reportedly hung out outside City Hall in Central on Sunday, Feb. 9, during which they all wore masks.

Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said at a news conference today, Feb 18, that the Filipina had been sick with cough and cold since early this month. She initially tested negative for the coronavirus or Covid-19, but returned a positive result a few days later.

She is now confined in an isolation room at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan.
Chuang said the Center has been trying to contact the friends of the Filipina who lives with her 67-year-old employer  at Mt. Parker Lodge in Quarry Bay.

The elderly woman tested positive for the virus on Feb. 13. Her source of infection was traced to a dinner she had with 28 other people at Star Seafood Restaurant in North Point 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. But the Filipina caregiver did not join them, so doctors say she was probably infected by her elderly ward.

After receiving confirmation of the Filipina’s identity, Consul General Raly Tejada immediately sent a team to the hospital made up of welfare officer Virsie Tamayao, social welfare attaché Beth Dy and Arnel de Luna of the assistance to nationals section.

Tamayao, Dy and de Luna check on the sick Filipina's condition at Eastern Hospital

ConGen Tejada said the Philippine government will render all necessary assistance to the sick Filipina.

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

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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.

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. 

The news set alarm bells ringing in the community earlier, as it came while a government task force 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. 

Despite the setback, the partial lifting of the travel ban went ahead.
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