Looming influx of over 12,000 OFWs in Hong Kong sparks quarantine worries

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2020 12:07 PM

A man wears a mask to prevent from getting infected by the novel coronavirus as he uses his mobile phone in Hong Kong, China, January 29, 2020. Tyrone Siu, Reuters/File

MANILA-- More than 12,000 Filipinos are expected to arrive in Hong Kong for work in the next few months despite the persisting threat of COVID-19, Philippine Consul General Raly Tejada said Wednesday as he expressed concern on quarantine problems that may arise from the arrivals.

There are 7,907 newly-hired Filipinos and 4,755 returning Filipino workers expected to arrive in Hong Kong this summer, Tejada said.

"Medyo napakadami po nito kaya medyo nagwo worry din ang Hong Kong government kung saan sila ilalagay sapagkat ang quarantine pong 14 days ay mandatory po dito," Tejada said in a virtual press briefing.

(They are quite many so the Hong Kong government is also a bit worried about their quarantine facilities since there is a mandatory 14-day quarantine here.)

Aside from a 14-day mandatory quarantine, Hong Kong also requires a COVID-19 swab test for all arrivals.

The diplomat reminded agencies and employers of the incoming Filipino workers of their responsibility to ensure that the migrant workers will have a quarantine facility upon their entry to Hong Kong.

Quarantine facilities may either be hotels or designated establishments, Tejada said.

He added that the Philippine Consulate is in constant coordination with Hong Kong authorities over the welfare of Filipino workers in the Chinese special administrative region.

"Huwag pong mag-alala dahil hindi po mapapabayaan ang mga babalik na workers natin dito sa Hong Kong," Tejada said.

(Don't worry because we will take care of our workers here in Hong Kong)

In contrast to major outbreaks seen in other big cities around the world, Hong Kong has reported a relatively small number of infections, just over a thousand. The border remains virtually shut but life is slowly returning to normal.

--with a report from Reuters