'Most helpers met deadline for Covid tests' - RTHK
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'Most helpers met deadline for Covid tests'

2021-05-09 HKT 17:13
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  • There were no queues at a Covid testing centre in Central on Sunday, as most domestic helpers had already got checked before the deadline. Photo: RTHK
    There were no queues at a Covid testing centre in Central on Sunday, as most domestic helpers had already got checked before the deadline. Photo: RTHK
After an initial rush to get tested for the coronavirus, few foreign helpers were seen at testing centres on Sunday – the deadline for a mandatory testing order for all migrant domestic workers.

Hong Kong's 370,000 helpers were given nine days to get tested after three helpers came down with a more infectious strain of the virus last month.

At the test centres at Chater Garden and Edinburgh Place in Central, only a handful of people were queuing up for a free swab test.

One helper, Rosemary, told RTHK she just couldn’t afford the time to queue up for hours for a test last week, and it’s a pleasant surprise that she could get it done in a matter of minutes in the end.

"Last week, there were so many people – that's why I cannot come, I don't have time. I went back and tried to make a booking, but cannot. That's why I wait for the last day," she said.

Another helper who took the test on Sunday, Jackie, said the process was fast and smooth, and she didn't have a problem with having nine days to get tested.

"Because there're a lot of places you can go to have a test. I think it's convenient," she said.

But Hannah, a helper who took the test last week, said if the government were to impose similar orders again, more time should be given.

"Only Sundays are our free time. We spent eight, ten hours queuing last week. This is not proper treatment for us," she said, adding that she thinks the policy of making tests compulsory only for helpers is somewhat discriminatory.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said on Sunday that the majority of the SAR's helpers have complied with the test order.