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HK labour chief rules out second quarantine hotel for FDHs

01 September 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Law says talks with a second hotel for FDH quarantine broke down (RTHK photo)

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong has said the government cannot provide for another quarantine hotel for foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) as there is a high demand for them from other people traveling to Hong Kong.

Speaking to reporters after attending the Legislative Council meeting his afternoon, Sept. 1, Law revealed that talks with a second hotel intended for use by incoming FDHs had broken down over pricing and financial arrangement.

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Currently, only Silka Tsuen Wan hotel, with about 230 available rooms, has been designated for use by an estimated 4,000 vaccinated FDHs with employment visas waiting in line to come in from the Philippines and Indonesia.

With their quarantine stay fixed at 21 days, the hotel has been fully booked until November, leaving employers at wits’ end trying to figure out how soon their helpers  who have already been stranded for months, can come in.


But Law has firmly ruled out a suggestion to allocate more quarantine hotels for the FDH’s use, and allow some returning residents to isolate at home.

“Somehow, there is a consistent demand from people coming back from elsewhere to Hong Kong for quarantine arrangements, so the existing provision of designated quarantine hotels is basically needed,” said Law.


“On this particular front, when we are trying to provide this designated quarantine facility for foreign domestic helpers, we try not to affect the overall supply (of quarantine facilities) for people coming back from elsewhere. So, somehow we are trying to, particularly in this case when we are using existing quarantine facilities, basically trying to increase such a supply, but there is always a limit.”

Law reiterated Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s announcement a day earlier that other FDHs may be accommodated in about 800 available rooms at the government-run Penny’s Bay quarantine centre in Lantau, at a cost of $500 a day per head.

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He also stressed the need to allow FDHs to come in gradually, as they will be coming from two countries specified as high-risk areas for Covid-19.

“It is very important for us to closely monitor the situation, because there is always a risk when we are allowing people from these high-risk areas coming back to Hong Kong in large numbers. Then, that will put a very substantial pressure on our system and there can always be leakage,” he said.

On top of requiring incoming workers to only stay at the only designated quarantine hotel, Hong Kong also wants them to be fully vaccinated, with a recognized vaccination record from their home countries. 

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They should also present a negative result for a RT-PCR test for Covid-19 taken within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Hong Kong, and a confirmed hotel booking for their 21-day quarantine.

On arrival, the helpers should again test negative for Covid-19 at Hong Kong airport before being allowed to leave for their quarantine hotel.

During their 21 days of isolation, they must undergo five more tests, then do self-checks for a further seven days, before taking compulsory testing at a government-run facility on the 26th day of their arrival.

Most of the incoming FDHs from the Philippines have been stranded since Hong Kong imposed a ban on all passenger flights from the country starting Apr 20. The ban was lifted on Aug 9, but only for travelers who had been fully vaccinated in Hong Kong.

After a lengthy negotiation with Consulate officials on the recognition of a centrally-issued vaccination record, HK announced that FDHs who had their jabs in the Philippines could come in starting on Aug 30.

But this came with yet another condition - that they can only spend their quarantine in Silka.
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