'Close pedestrian areas to stop helpers gathering' - RTHK
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'Close pedestrian areas to stop helpers gathering'

2020-03-30 HKT 12:09
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  • 'Close pedestrian areas to stop helpers gathering'
A group representing employers of foreign domestic workers has urged the government to scrap pedestrian areas across the city to make it harder for helpers to gather in large groups amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Support Group for Hong Kong Employers with Foreign Domestic Helpers said on Monday that migrant workers are determined to go out on their days off, even though some have been offered money to stay indoors, without working.

It claimed some helpers are not interested in practising social distancing and will be happy to flout new rules temporarily banning gatherings of more than four people.

Joan Tsui, the group's convenor, said on an RTHK programme that some helpers are not concerned about the virus outbreak and they refuse to play their part in stopping it spreading.

"We feel these maids are living in a parallel universe. This is a loophole, they won't fight this battle with us Hongkongers together," Tsui said.

She said foreign domestic workers think that Hong Kong has a good public health system so if they come down with Covid-19 they can just go to a hospital to be treated.

Tsui said Indonesian helpers may be the most complacent, because they believe that only those from the Philippines are catching the virus, and consulates in the city should provide more information to their citizens.

She added that helpers won't care about new rules on social distancing unless the authorities start prosecuting them.

Last week, the Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body pointed out that by asking helpers to "stay at home", the government is in effect, asking them to "stay at work". It said foreign domestic workers are already avoiding large gatherings on their days off.