Carrie Lam yields to criticism of COVID jab mandate for helpers

Published (HKT): 2021.05.04 14:02

Chief Executive Carrie Lam walked back the push for compulsory vaccinations for all foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Amid growing discrimination criticism both local and international, she said she has asked her administration to review the policy and consult consulates of major home countries of migrant workers.

Her remarks came just days after labor secretary Law Chi-kwong announced on Friday that all foreign domestic workers in the city must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before their contracts can be renewed. The plan, which has come under fire and ignited concerns for further mandatory vaccinations, was slammed by the Philippines foreign minister as “discriminatory.”

Speaking before her weekly meeting with the Executive Council, Lam also defended the mandatory testing order for foreign domestic workers as “risk-based” and not discriminatory. As more than 100,000 helpers have been tested over the weekend, she said she is confident that over 370,000 migrant workers can be tested before the May 9 deadline.

Foreign domestic workers, who are often caretakers of children or the elderly, do have a habit of gathering on Sundays, hence proper measures are needed to prevent possible transmissions, Lam stressed.

Meanwhile, Lam said that health authorities would review whether residents living in the same block with locally contracted COVID-19 cases could shorten their mandatory 21-day quarantine if they are fully vaccinated for at least two weeks.

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