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Filipino workers driven away after getting Covid-19

16 February 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

One of the workers stuck outside Queen Mary with all her belongings 

Five Filipino domestic workers who tested positive for Covid-19 found themselves stuck outside two public hospitals from last night, after they were turned away from their boarding houses and their employers’ homes.

Two of them waited in the cold outside Queen Mary Hospital after being told at the accident and emergency section that they could not be admitted without a referral from the Centre for Health Protection.

Three others stood in the queue outside the North Lantau Hospital Infection Control Centre, but were also turned away, along with hundreds of other patients who were all clamoring to be admitted.

According to the workers at Queen Mary, they had nowhere to go. One of them had just moved to her new employer’s house on Feb 14 when she tested positive in what was supposed to be a pre-employment test.


The other is also currently employed but is on a live-out arrangement. The other helpers in her boarding house had reportedly refused to let her back in after finding out that she had tested positive.

Despite being told to wait it out at the tents set up outside the hospital for confirmed patients, the two decided to go to a boarding house which a non-government organization had found for them.

“Two days na po kaming walang maayos ligo at tulog,” said one of them. “Nahiga na nga po ako sa gilid ng kalsada. Imbes na gagaling kami mamamatay kami dahil sa walang ayos na kain at tulog.”

(We haven’t had a proper bath and sleep for two days. I have already slept on the side of a street. Instead of recovering we might die because of a lack of food and sleep).

Their plight was brought to the attention of the Consulate and several migrant support groups by Marites Palma, founder of Social Justice for Migrant Workers.

Exhausted and hungry, the two Filipinas were forced to lay on the cold floor while awaiting help

It was the same story for the three workers who remain stuck outside North Lantau Hospital as of this writing.

According to staff at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration who undertook the risky task of bringing them food and supplies, the three were staying in a boarding house while waiting for  their flights home when they tested positive.


They had gone to the airport to take a Covid-19 test as part of the requirements for boarding a flight to the Philippines. When the result turned positive, their boardmates refused to allow them to move back in.

Consul General Raly Tejada said anyone who tests positive should not leave their homes in line with the directive of the Centre for Health Protection.

“We need to make sure our nationals do not leave their homes when they are positive and consistent with current protocols should follow CHP’s instructions,” he said.

“They should also avoid going to the airport to get a Covid test or while awaiting results as they could end up stranded like our nationals in Lantau just now.”


ConGen Tejada said OWWA was assured by a hospital nurse that the workers were already under the care and responsibility of the hospital. They have also been listed in the hospital system as among those awaiting intervention by the CHP.

Told about the worker who was driven out of her employer’s home, ConGen said the Consulate is pressing the CHP to provide care and help to them while awaiting action on their request for hospital admission.

The Labour Department is also being asked for an assurance that employers do not abandon their Covid-positive workers.

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Under the Labour Ordinance, employers who terminate (including constructive dismissal as in the case of the worker who was driven out of the house) their helper who gets sick are liable to prosecution and to a fine of up to $100,000.

The five workers were, however, apparently only among a few who faced eviction by people they live with after learning they had the coronavirus.

A number of workers have reportedly been calling the OWWA hotline to ask for help because they were being driven out of their boarding houses after they tested positive.


However, OWWA’s staff have told them that they must stay put in compliance with the government’s directive. If the other people in their lodging houses insist on driving them out, they should call 999 immediately.

Alternatively, they should call the Consulate or OWWA so a settlement could be reached with those trying to force them out.

Covid patients are made to stay inside makeshift tents outside hospitals 

Under the CHP’s guidelines, all Covid-19 positive patients must stay at home and wait for further instructions on when or whether they would be moved to a hospital or isolation facility.

They could also try calling the dedicated hotline, 1836115 or book an appointment with any of seven public clinics providing free medical check-ups. The list of the designated clinics along with their addresses and contact numbers are here:

From Friday, Covid patients may also book a free taxi ride in going to the clinics by logging on to from 7am on Feb 18, or call 3693 4770 (8am to 10pm from the same day).

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