Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong face being forced to take Covid vaccines. Non-compliance in the vaccine rollout could result in work contracts not being renewed under plans being drawn up by Carrie Lam’s Government. The Guardian has the story.
Hong Kong’s Government has sparked discrimination concerns over plans to force hundreds of thousands of foreign domestic workers to be vaccinated against Covid or face losing their job.
Authorities have embarked on mass mandatory testing of the city’s 370,000 domestic workers after a more infectious strain was detected in the community, and flagged plans for compulsory vaccinations.
Under the measures, workers would need to be vaccinated before their contracts could be renewed, and any incoming worker would be required to have the vaccination to enter Hong Kong.
The vast majority of Hong Kong’s domestic workers are migrant workers, primarily from the Philippines and Indonesia, and no other foreign workforce has been singled out for mandatory vaccines, drawing criticism from Philippines officials. The country’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, Teddy Locsin Jr., praised Hong Kong’s provision of free vaccines to domestic workers, but said singling them out to make it mandatory “smacks of discrimination”.
“If it is a special favour, it is unfair to other nationalities. Hong Kong can do better than that,” he said…
In explaining the new rules, Hong Kong’s Minister for Labour, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said the “high risk group” mainly spent their holidays with friends, which could lead to cross-family infections. The migrant workers, who usually travel alone to Hong Kong, have one day off a week and frequently gather in public places to socialise away from the home where they work.
“In the long run, we need to think about how to get more domestic workers vaccinated,” said Law.
Late last month the Hong Kong Government said that only vaccinated people can visit bars and nightclubs and their staff must also have had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. A Government mobile app is being used as a vaccine passport. At restaurants, unvaccinated people must sit in designated areas, away from those who have received a vaccine.
The Guardian report is worth reading in full.