The Labour Department has collaborated with the relevant departments to conduct joint operations against foreign domestic helpers’ behaviour in contravention of social distancing measures.
Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong made the statement in response to questions from lawmakers at the Legislative Council today.
Dr Law said during the COVID-19 epidemic, the Labour Department has encouraged foreign domestic helpers through various channels to stay home on their rest day as far as possible and avoid gathering when going out.
During the two long holidays in the period from December 24 last year to January 3 this year, the Labour Department, the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department, Police and the Leisure & Cultural Services Department conducted joint operations at various public places to urge foreign domestic helpers to comply with the regulations on mask-wearing and prohibition of group gatherings in public places as well as refrain from conducting unlicensed hawking activities.
Those public places include Tamar Park in Admiralty, Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, the footbridge near Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok and the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.
From December 11 last year to January 3 this year, the relevant departments issued a total of 60 fixed penalty notices to foreign domestic helpers in relation to the regulations.
Dr Law noted that the suggestion of prohibiting foreign domestic helpers from gathering in public places is quite controversial, and the legislative amendments or mandatory measures involved may even touch upon discrimination issues.
He said even if the Government, in order to enhance the effectiveness of anti-epidemic efforts, may need to distinguish certain high-risk groups for implementing special measures in a more focused manner, the process must be founded on objective facts such as the development of the epidemic, infection cases and risk management as well as detailed analysis.
On this basis, the Government has no plan to target foreign domestic helpers only and prohibit them from gathering in public places, Dr Law added.