Ethnic minorities decry lack of quarantine services - RTHK
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Ethnic minorities decry lack of quarantine services

2020-09-22 HKT 15:27
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  • Some of the complaints relate to authorities not providing halal food while arrivals wait for the Covid-19 test results at the airport. Photo: RTHK
    Some of the complaints relate to authorities not providing halal food while arrivals wait for the Covid-19 test results at the airport. Photo: RTHK
Wendy Wong reports
Some ethnic minorities who returned to Hong Kong recently have complained about the lack of quarantine support services at the airport, with some saying they were not given suitable food while waiting for their coronavirus test results.

Speaking at a press briefing at Legco on Tuesday, Yau Tsim Mong district councillor Leslie Chan said he has received at least six requests for help in the past two weeks.

Chan said he has called on the Department of Health and the Airport Authority to strengthen English-language requirements from frontline personnel, provide 24-hour multi-language support, and do more to cater to special dietary needs of those waiting for Covid-19 tests.

Asif Ahamad said his wife and two kids, who had arrived in Hong Kong from India on September 11, were considered close contacts of an infected passenger on the flight.

He said they waited for almost 40 hours at the airport before being sent to a quarantine centre, and they were not given any halal food or Indian vegetarian food which they needed.

Sumit Sharma, who arrived last Friday, said he was stranded at the airport for close to 30 hours with about 15 other ethnic minority individuals, and that they were only given junk food like muffins and chicken wings.

Lawmaker Claudia Mo, who’s also been helping the ethnic minorities, said “systematic indifference” to their dietary needs could amount to racial discrimination.

“The whole saga could amount to suspected racial-biased treatment of our ethnic minority passengers prompted by language barrier, skin colour or sheer ignorance. You would say it all boils down to indifference. We need to be reminded that indifference could just be the worst form of discrimination,” she said.