A woman speaks on her phone as migrant workers queue up for COVID-19 testing in the Central district of Hong Kong on May 1, 2021. (PETER PARKS / AFP)
HONG KONG - Foreign domestic helpers arriving in Hong Kong can stay at their employers' homes and start working after a three-day mandatory quarantine at a designated hotel as new quarantine rules take effect on Friday.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Labour Department said newly arriving helpers will be subject to compulsory quarantine in designated quarantine hotels for three days, followed by medical surveillance at home for four days.
During the medical surveillance period, the helpers can work at their employers' residence and go out after obtaining a negative RAT result on that day, a spokesman for the Labour Department said
Under the “3+4” model, the day helpers arrive in Hong Kong with the first nucleic acid test conducted is considered day zero. They are required to undergo compulsory quarantine for three nights in designated quarantine hotels, the spokesman said.
They are subject to daily rapid antigen tests and must undergo a nucleic acid test on day two. Those who test negative consecutively will be deemed as having completed the compulsory quarantine in the morning of day three.
“The helpers are then subject to medical surveillance at their employers’ residence for four nights and must undergo daily RATs,” according to the statement.
After obtaining negative RAT results on day four and day six upon arrival at Hong Kong, they are required to undergo nucleic acid tests on the same days at a community testing center or mobile specimen collection station. They may also arrange a self-paid test at a local medical institution recognized by the government.
During the medical surveillance period, the helpers can work at their employers' residence and go out after obtaining a negative RAT result on that day.
In view of individual families’ conditions, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle approval for employers to arrange for their helpers to stay at licensed hotels or guesthouses that are not designated quarantine hotels to complete the four days of medical surveillance and the subsequent three days of self-monitoring
They can take public transportation, enter supermarkets and markets, but they will be subject to amber code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass, meaning they cannot enter high-risk premises involving mask-off or group activities, as well as other premises requiring key protection, according to the spokesman.
“Those who test negative consecutively will be deemed as having completed the medical surveillance in the morning of day seven upon arrival in the city.”
Helpers are then subject to self-monitoring during the subsequent three days and must undergo daily RATs until day 10. They are also required to take their last nucleic acid test on day nine.
In view of individual families’ conditions, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle approval for employers to arrange for their helpers to stay at licensed hotels or guesthouses that are not designated quarantine hotels to complete the four days of medical surveillance and the subsequent three days of self-monitoring, the spokesman noted.
“There is no need to make an application to the department to make such an arrangement.”
As for helpers who have completed at least three nights of quarantine in designated hotels before Aug 12, the government has arranged for them to leave the hotels in an orderly manner on or before Aug 12 after confirming their negative nucleic acid test results.
“Thereafter, the helpers are subject to medical surveillance at home, amber code restrictions as well as compliance with the above testing requirements,” the spokesman said.
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