New round of virus tests for helpers

May 11, 2021

The Government announced today that foreign domestic helpers should receive compulsory COVID-19 testing again from May 15 to 30, but will not be required to receive vaccines when applying for employment visas.


In view of the highly transmissible N501Y mutant strain which may have an incubation period of over 20 days, the Food & Health Bureau will issue another compulsory testing notice for foreign domestic helpers.


The notice will require them to undergo COVID-19 testing from May 15 to 30, while those who have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine for 14 days are exempted.


Nearly 340,000 foreign domestic helpers underwent COVID-19 testing from May 1 to 9 during the first round of compulsory testing, and around 40,000 helpers received two doses of the vaccine.


The Government will increase booking and testing capacities in the new round of testing, especially the testing capacity on Saturdays and Sundays.


Employers are urged to arrange for their helpers to go for testing at community testing centres on weekdays and make bookings in advance, to prevent the helpers from gathering and queuing for testing during weekends.


Helpers exempted from the test should have their vaccination records ready to prove eligibility, the Government added.


Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong met the consuls general of the Philippines and Indonesia in Hong Kong separately yesterday to learn about their views on a suggestion that foreign domestic helpers may be required to receive recognised COVID-19 vaccines when they apply for employment visas. After consolidating and considering various aspects, the Government decided not to pursue the suggestion.


However, in view of the threat posed by the mutant strains and to protect each other’s health, the Government pointed out that it is imperative for people to get vaccinated, noting there are sufficient vaccines for all Hong Kong people including foreign domestic helpers, with plenty of unutilised quotas still available in the 29 community vaccination centres and over 1,000 private clinics.

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