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May 5, 2021

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HK stops mandatory shots for alien maids

HONG Kong authorities have rowed back on plans to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for foreign domestic workers, after human rights groups slammed the policy as being discriminatory.

After a domestic worker from the Philippines was found to have a more contagious variant of the coronavirus last week, authorities said all 370,000 foreign domestic workers in the city would have to get tested before May 9.

Domestic workers would also need to get vaccinated before renewing their employment contracts, authorities said.

But Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said yesterday the vaccine policy was being suspended after a backlash from workers’ groups who said they were being unfairly singled out, and a Philippine government official criticized the move.

“I have asked the secretary for labor to review the whole policy, and to consult advisers and consulates for the countries where domestic workers primarily come from as to whether compulsory vaccinations can be done,” Lam told reporters.

The policy was not discriminatory, and the government still planned to complete mandatory testing of all domestic workers by May 9, she added.

Female domestic workers, mostly from the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, usually live with their employers in Hong Kong.

After the testing order, domestic workers had queued for hours on Sunday, their usual day off, to get tested.


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