Deal to allow new helpers in could come next week - RTHK
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Deal to allow new helpers in could come next week

2021-08-21 HKT 11:59
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  • Deal to allow new helpers in could come next week
The Labour Department said on Saturday it was nearing agreement with authorities in the Philippines and Indonesia on arrangements for newly-hired foreign domestic helpers to come to Hong Kong.

Officials say an announcement could come as soon as next week once consensus is reach on how the SAR verifies information on vaccinations delivered in the two countries.

The department told RTHK that the government is now planning to designate one or two hotels for helpers to undergo quarantine.

Speaking after attending a radio programme, Health Secretary Sophia Chan revealed that discussions between the governments have been going well.

She said the incoming helpers will have to comply with strict pandemic rules including a 21-day mandatory quarantine and full-vaccination, noting that both the Philippines and Indonesia are classified as high-risk areas.

New helpers have been unable to begin work since officials banned flights from the Philippines and Indonesia in April and June respectively.

Meanwhile, Chan welcomed the Airport Authority's announcement that staff who come into contact with incoming passengers will have to be vaccinated.

The authority announced late on Friday that it would no longer allow workers in high-risk areas to rely on negative tests or medical exemptions.

Chan said this was the right move, given that a requirement for passengers to test negative would not stop every Covid-positive traveller.

"I think this is really basic," she told reporters.

"Whether the Airport Authority would deploy or redeploy people who are vaccinated to work in certain higher risk areas is of course their internal organisation and mechanism."

She also revealed that the government and the Airport Authority are discussing how to strengthen arrangements in the airport to further cut down potential contact between transit passengers and airport staff.