Care home staff to get Covid test subsidies - RTHK
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Care home staff to get Covid test subsidies

2020-11-30 HKT 10:18
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  • Care home staff to get Covid test subsidies
The government is planning to subsidise care home workers by at least HK$200 a month to take Covid-19 tests, as they face mandatory testing from Monday.

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Law Chi-kwong, called it "mission impossible" for such staff to get tested in the care homes, so the subsidy would cover transport expenses for them to go to government testing centres during their time off from work.

The Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union, while questioning the effectiveness of the tests, has been calling for a subsidy for workers to get tested at private laboratories. Tests at the government centres will be free.

Law told an RTHK programme that more details about the mandatory scheme, which will last for two weeks initially, would be announced later on Monday.

He said the Social Welfare Department would give the subsidy to care home operators to pass to staff.

Law said the government suggested parking mobile testing vans near care homes, but the homes rejected this as they were wary that it could attract outsiders to the vehicles.

The minister said officials didn't consult the sector when they decided to introduce mandatory testing because there have already been five rounds of voluntary tests. He said the tests are necessary to avoid "disastrous" outbreaks at the homes.

Law said if workers don't get tested, home operators could get verbal and written warnings, and could even be penalised.

On Sunday, authorities confirmed 115 new cases, the highest in almost four months.