COVID-19 patients to get grant

November 23, 2020

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong today announced that applications for a one-off grant of $5,000 for grassroots citizens who have been confirmed infected with COVID-19 will open on Friday.


Dr Law told the media the grant covers applicants who tested positive for COVID-19 from November 22 and were hospitalised, resulting in a loss of income.


“The conditions are for those who have a substantial reduction in income and will be suffering from financial difficulties, they will be eligible to apply for this ex-gratia payment.”


He noted that the applications will not be subject to a means test.


“Doing a means test will prolong the application process. It can be hard on the applicants too because they may have to provide a lot of information before the application is approved and they are already suffering from COVID-19.


“To balance all these considerations, we consider these broad conditions to be eligible for the grant will be sufficient to cover primarily those who belong to the grassroots.”


Dr Law also played down concerns some applicants may abuse the system.


“One of the major considerations of any government action of providing any benefit is to consider the possibility of abuse. On this ex-gratia payment for those who are COVID-19 positive and hospitalised, we do consider the risk is quite minimal. In fact, we are just targeting those who belong to the grassroots, who are employed or self-employed and suffer from the loss of income, so we do not expect that will create any substantial abuse.”


He added that the grant would not be extended to patients' close contacts.


“But in the case of close contacts, it can be more volatile. And the way to deal with abuse can be even far more complicated and expensive than the process of providing such benefit to individuals. So we have decided not to include those who are classified as close contacts.”

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