Coronavirus News Asia

Covid-19 puts pressure on HK domestic workers

Some foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong have had heavier workloads over the past two months because they have been asked to stay home on rest days and do extra chores. 

On Wednesday, four more cases of Covid-19 infection were recorded in Hong Kong, bringing the total to 1,017, according to the Center for Health Protection. 

Dozens of those infected have been domestic workers who were either infected at their employers’ homes or during overseas trips with their employers. 

On Monday, a one-year-old baby girl was found to be infected with the coronavirus, becoming Hong Kong’s No.1,009 patient. The baby’s parents and their 32-year-old domestic worker returned to Hong Kong from the United Kingdom on April 7 after a two-month trip. The domestic worker was identified as No.993 patient on April 11. 

A 38-year-old domestic worker, Acel, told Apple Daily she was worried that she would be infected as she was working for a family of four who were home quarantined. She said her male employer and his nine-year-old daughter returned from the United Kingdom on March 22 and were ordered by the government to stay home for 14 days. She also complained about a lack of privacy as her female employer was working from home while the couple’s 12-year-old son was also staying home all day.

Since late January, many civil servants and private sector workers have been asked to work from home and children are also staying home due because the schools are closed, which domestic workers say is increasing their workload.

According to a survey by the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB), one in four domestic workers said they slept less in February and March than in the preceding months. More than half of the 1,127 respondents have been given more chores to do, including cleaning, cooking, taking care of children and buying necessities. 

One-third of the respondents said they were asked to clean their employers’ apartments at least twice a day. One in five said they were not given enough protective equipment such as gloves or masks.

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