Domestic helpers can stay at employers' homes after three-day quarantine

Domestic helpers can stay at employers' homes after three-day quarantine

On May 1, 2021, a woman speaks on her phone as migrant workers queue up for COVID 19 testing in the Central District of Hong Kong. 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.

A Labour Department spokesman said that newly arriving helpers will be subject to mandatory quarantine in designated quarantine hotels for three days, followed by medical surveillance at home for four days.

The day helpers arrive in Hong Kong with the first nucleic acid test conducted is considered day zero. They must undergo mandatory quarantine for three nights in designated quarantine hotels, the spokesman said.

READ MORE: Helper crisis: Residents could be forced to quit their jobs.

They are subject to daily rapid antigen tests and must undergo a nucleic acid test on day two. Those who have tested negative consecutively will be deemed to have completed the mandatory quarantine in the morning of day three.

The helpers are subject to medical surveillance at their employer's 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 in Hong Kong, they are required to undergo nucleic acid tests at a community testing center or mobile specimen collection station on the same day. They may also arrange a self-paid test at a local medical institution recognized by the government.

The helpers can work at their employers' residence during the medical surveillance period and go out after obtaining a negative RAT result on that day.

They can take public transportation, enter supermarkets and markets, but they will be subject to amber code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass, meaning they can't enter high-risk premises involving mask-off or group activities, as well as other premises requiring key protection, according to the spokesman.

Those who have been testing negative consecutively will be deemed to have completed the medical surveillance in the morning of day seven upon arrival in the city. The helpers are subject to self-monitoring during the subsequent three days and must undergo daily RATs until day 10. They are required to take their last nucleic acid test on day nine.

The spokesman for the Commissioner for Labour said that because 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.

There is no need to make an application to the department to make such an arrangement. As for helpers who have completed three nights of quarantine in designated hotels before August 12, the government has ordered them to leave the hotels in an orderly manner on or before August 12 after confirming their negative nucleic acid test results.

The helpers are subject to medical surveillance at home, amber code restrictions and compliance with the above testing requirements, the spokesman said.