Hong Kong will open the first and second phase of Penny’s Bay coronavirus quarantine centre for fully vaccinated foreign domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Tuesday.

Nearly 800 rooms will be available at a nightly rate capped at HK$500, Lam said. The facilities are expected to be ready in late September but bookings will open at an earlier date.

Carrie Lam Covid-19 vaccine
Chief Executive Carrie Lam meets the press on August 31, 2021. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

“Now that we don’t have local cases and not as many close contacts that need to undergo quarantine, we have room to arrange quarantine for foreign domestic workers,” said Lam.

Foreign domestic workers from the two countries were allowed to to enter the city from Monday after the government reached an agreement to recognise vaccination certificates issued by the Jakarta and Manila authorities.

Under the arrangement, all incoming migrant workers will have to undergo 21 days of compulsory quarantine. Before the government’s announcement on Tuesday, there was only one designated Covid-19 quarantine hotel for foreign domestic workers.

The hotel, Silka Tsuen Wan Hotel, provides 327 rooms at an 80 per cent capacity. A full 21 -day quarantine costs HK$16,800. A hotel staff member told HKFP that rooms are fully booked until November.

Vaccination boost

Over 60 per cent of Hong Kong’s population have now received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. However the government is not optimistic that this figure will reach 70 per cent by the end of September, the chief executive said.

covid-19 coronavirus vaccine
Coronavirus vaccination in Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

Lam urged three groups of people to get vaccinated: the working population aged 65 and under, students, and the elderly.

When asked whether the government can do more to encourage citizens to get vaccinated, Lam said that this is the responsibility of the entire society, including doctors and family members of the elderly.

“The press can do more [to promote vaccination] too, instead of constantly asking what the government can still do.” Lam said.

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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.