Hong Kong will from Monday allow fully vaccinated foreign domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines to enter the city, but they will have to undergo 21 days of compulsory quarantine in a designated hotel.

The move comes after the government reached an agreement to recognise vaccination certificates issued by the Jakarta and Manila authorities.

File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The workers will have to quarantine in the Silka Tsuen Wan Hotel for 21 days at a cost of HK$16,800, or HK$800 per night, which includes three meals. A total of 409 rooms will be open for booking and email bookings will begin from midnight on Friday.

Employers will have to include a copy of the employee’s passport, a valid working visa and the vaccination record in the email to the hotel.

Foreign domestic workers will have to show a valid working visa, a negative Covid-19 test result and a confirmation of the hotel booking when they board a flight to Hong Kong.

An HKFP reporter posing as a potential customer was told that people under quarantine will be allowed to order food deliveries but orders must be pre-paid. Employers can send supplies to the hotel for the workers.

HKFP was also told that if a booking has been confirmed by the hotel, the fees must be paid by full within 48 hours.

Silka Tsuen Wan Hotel. Photo: Silka Tsuen Wan Hotel.

The hotel also said that while there will be an information sheet in Bahasa Indonesia and Tagalog, hotel staff members will only be able to communicate in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

‘Singling out’

Chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance, Eni Lestari, told HKFP that while she welcomed the government’s decision to admit foreign domestic workers, the requirement for them all to quarantine in one hotel was another form of “discrimination” and “singling out” domestic workers.

“What is the logic in that? Because Indonesia and the Philippines are not the only high-risk countries with Covid-19 – there are other countries,” said Lestari.

The activist also urged the government to make the application process more accessible by providing forms in local languages.

Eni Lestari, chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

“Even last year when I was able to go home, it was very complicated, because you have to be able to read English to even to fill up all those online forms,” said Lestari.

Lestari also urged the Indonesian and Filipino governments to prioritise migrant workers in their vaccination programmes, as access to vaccines is a problem in both countries.

Qatar flight ban

The government announced that all flights from Doha operated by Qatar Airways would be banned from Friday till September 9 after a passenger was confirmed infected upon arrival and two passengers failed to comply with the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation.

Hong Kong reported three coronavirus infections on Thursday, all of which were imported cases. The city has recorded 12,078 cases and 212 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic 18 months ago.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.