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Labour chief rules out increase in FDH arrivals, citing high infection rate

03 October 2021

By The SUN


Law cites the 4.3% infection rate among Filipino DHs as reason for HK's cautious stance (File)

Labour and Welfare Secretary Law Chi-kwong has ruled out increasing the number of foreign domestic helpers being allowed in despite an urgent need by Hong Kong families, saying the city is trying its best to avoid importing the virus.

Writing in his Sunday blog, Law said that in the past month, about 40 foreign domestic helpers have arrived in Hong Kong on a daily basis.

From Aug 30 to Sept 24 he said a total of 606 Filipino helpers arrived in Hong Kong. As of October 1, 26 of these helpers have been diagnosed with Covid-19, an infection rate of 4.3 percent.

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“And this 4.3% diagnosis rate is ‘not simple’ at all. If there are still people who think we need to increase the number of foreign domestic helpers who come to Hong Kong every day, I have nothing to say,” Law said.

Law said in January, an average of about 70 FDHs arrived in Hong Kong every day, but that has dropped to 40 since they were allowed to start trickling back in on Aug. 30 under very strict restrictions, such as staying in only two designated quarantine facilities. 

Hong Kong’s reopening its doors to fully vaccinated FDHs from the Philippines and other extremely high-risk countries was meant to fill the shortage of helpers in the city.


“The shortage of foreign domestic helpers is tens of thousands. You can imagine how much pressure thousands of families face without the support of foreign domestic helpers,” Law said. 

“This distress has appeared since the beginning of the epidemic early last year, but it has only become more serious since April 20 this year,” said Law, denoting the date when Hong Kong banned passenger flights from seven “high-risk” countries, including the Philippines. Indonesia was added to the list on Jun 25.


Law said the number of FDHs in Hong Kong peaked at 400,000, but has fallen to fewer than 360,000 today. Last month, Law said Filipinos made up 62% of all FDHs arrivals.

Filipino helpers go through strict pre-boarding requirements before being allowed to come to HK

He added that all newly arrived FDHs passed rigorous pre-boarding requirements, such as being fully vaccinated before coming to Hong Kong, obtaining a negative nucleic acid test result within 72 hours of flying here, and being isolated on arrival.


But he said bringing them in from high-risk places like the Philippines and Indonesia is like “walking on thin ice,” suggesting that it has a lot of pitfalls.

“As I pointed out in my blog on Sept 12, when dealing with importing foreign domestic helpers from high-risk areas, we must walk on thin ice and be cautious,” Law said.

He added that he checks the epidemic situation in the Philippines and Indonesia every day, and also takes note of the confirmed cases of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.

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On the coronavirus front, the Centre for Health Protection said there was no new confirmed case of Covid-19 had been recorded, leaving the number of cases in Hong Kong at 12,227 so far.

A total of 69 cases have been reported in the past 14 days ending Oct 2 and all of them are imported cases.

Meanwhile, the CHP said that the Australian health authority has informed them that a  55-year-old cargo flight crew who was found infected there a day after traveling from Hong Kong has been re-tested negative.

The case, announced by the CHP on Oct 1, involved a man who lives at Block 3, Monterey Cove, Phase 1, Caribbean Coast, 2 Kin Tung Road, Tung Chung.

As the case is not classified as a Covid-19 infection, the man’s close contacts in Hong Kong have been released from the quarantine centre.


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