'Give helpers the jabs before they come to HK' - RTHK
A A A
Temperature Humidity
News Archive Can search within past 12 months

'Give helpers the jabs before they come to HK'

2021-04-07 HKT 13:12
Share this story facebook
  • Agencies say banning all flights from the Philippines would hugely affect families who need helpers. File Photo: RTHK
    Agencies say banning all flights from the Philippines would hugely affect families who need helpers. File Photo: RTHK
The government has been urged to consider requiring domestic helpers from the Philippines to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before they come to Hong Kong, amid suggestions of a ban on all arrivals from the country.

Concerns have spiked over recent imported cases from the Philippines, which is seeing a surge in Covid-19 infections and the discovery of a new mutant variant.

That prompted University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung to call for a ban on all flights from countries such as the Philippines and India to keep the Covid-19 variant out.

Professor David Hui from the Chinese University, who advises the government on the pandemic, said the administration needs to strike a balance between infection control and the needs of local families.

"If you stop them from coming, you minimise the risk to the community. However, many Hong Kong families actually rely on foreign domestic helpers. So, if we stop the visitors coming from the Philippines, then a lot of Hong Kong families will be affected," he told RTHK's Frances Sit.

Hui said authorities could consider making vaccinations compulsory for helpers before they arrive here.

But Ho raised concern about a limited supply of the vaccines in the Philippines.

Teresa Liu, from the Association of Hong Kong Manpower Agencies, said her group would discuss with Philippine authorities whether helpers could get priority for inoculation.

She believes Hong Kong employers would be willing to pay for the jabs if the 21-day hotel quarantine for helpers would be shortened.