No local confirmed COVID-19 cases of unknown sources reported today, group petitions to EOC against govt’s request for FDH to be vaccinated

Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr.Law Chi-kwong

3rd May 2021 – (Hong Kong) According to sources, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases of unknown origin today (3rd) and 2 imported cases are expected. The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health will not hold an epidemic press conference at 4.30pm for the 3rd consecutive day after the local mutant case was found in Caribbean Coast, Tung Chung. As of yesterday (2nd), there have been 11,785 confirmed cases in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government recently proposed that all foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong must be vaccinated against COVID-19 when they renew their contracts. The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr.Law Chi-kwong later responded that vaccination is not a harsh requirement for working visas and that foreign domestic helpers can choose not to work in Hong Kong.

A group petitioned outside the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) this morning (3rd) to criticise the Hong Kong government for inappropriate remarks that involve discriminatory elements. They also accused Dr.Law of arrogance in his comments and demanded him to withdraw his remarks and apologise. The International Migrants Alliance came to the EOC this morning to complain about the Hong Kong government’s request that foreign domestic helpers who need to renew their contracts be vaccinated and mandatory testing for domestic domestic domestic helpers, describing that the measures involved discrimination and requiring the EOC to follow up. The spokesperson of the Alliance pointed out that the proposed measures proposed by the Hong Kong government are “forceful” in nature. In other words, foreign domestic helpers have no choice but to respond and it’s akin to a a violation of human rights. They are now seeking legal advice before deciding on the next step.

The spokesman also pointed out that the government has included foreign domestic helpers in the higher-risk infection group. There is no scientific basis for its claim, and the mandatory testing arrangements also cause problems for foreign domestic helpers. In an interview this morning,  Ricky CHU Man-kin, Chairperson of the EOC pointed out that according to the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, any measures aimed at protecting public health, including epidemic prevention or other reasonable or necessary measures, even if they cause differential treatment, are not in violation of the Ordinance.

Unless the measures are aimed at specific races, there is a possibility of violations. He also pointed out that the government has not yet implemented relevant measures, so it should discuss relevant policy arrangements with foreign domestic helpers, and discuss a plan that can prevent the epidemic, but also make it mutually acceptable.