MANILA - At least 76 overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong have tested positive for COVID-19, a Philippine official said Wednesday, as China's special administrative region faces its 5th wave of cases since the pandemic began in 2020.
Of the 76 OFWs, 8 are admitted in hospitals, while the rest are staying in isolation facilities, said Hans Cacdac, administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
"Dalawa ang naka-recover (Two have recovered)," he told state television PTV.
Filipinos who test positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong are given $200 in cash aid, basic hygiene kits, power banks and food assistance, he said.
Philippine officials in Hong Kong are also looking into reports of several employers illegally terminating Filipino domestic workers who have contracted the disease that has infected millions worldwide.
"May mga nakumbinsi nang employers para tanggapin muli ang OFWs at
yung hindi makumbinsi, parang 1 lang," the OWWA chief said.
(Some employers were convinced to take back the OFWs and so far there is only 1 employer who has yet to be convinced.)
The lone case will be reported to the Hong Kong Labor Authority for proper action, while the Philippines is mulling to include the said employer in the Labor department's blacklist, he said.
"Under Hong Kong law, hindi sila puwede i-terminate kasi puwede naman mag sick leave or makabalik para makarecover," Cacdac said.
(Under Hong Kong law, they cannot simply terminate sick workers because they are entitled to sick leaves and can still go back to work when they recover.)
Philippine officials are pushing to explain to Hong Kong employers that most OFWs in the special island territory are not at high risk for COVID-19, he said.
"Roughly 85 percent are vaccinated," he said.
"In other words, hindi life threatening. Hindi nagiging severe ang tama ng Omicron," he said.
(In other words, these cases are not life threatening, and are not severely affected by the Omicron variant.)
A rights group earlier said that some 70 domestic helpers in Hong Kong are in need of quarantine spaces as shelters were filling up quickly due to the spike in fresh COVID-19 cases.