What happens if a domestic helper tests positive for COVID-19?
This is a developing situation. We will do our best to keep this information updated and ensure accuracy. Please check with the relevant organisations.
These are the general steps to be aware of should a domestic helper test positive for COVID-19:
- If your helper has tested positive for COVID-19, you should ask your helper to stay at home and wait for further instruction. The Department of Health will arrange for your helper to be admitted to a public hospital for treatment as soon as possible. Authorities urge the public not to rush to the accident and emergency units or call an ambulance even if they return preliminary-positive results using home test kits.
- If your helper has tested positive using COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test, declare on this website here.
- While waiting for admission to hospital or Community Isolation Facility (CIF), your helper should stay at home and self-isolate, avoid human contact with other family members and wear a surgical mask at all times. Do not have meals together with people you are living with or share cutlery and utensils. All members in the household should wear a face mask and remain at home. It may take a few days to be sent to isolation or to the hospital.
- Due to the large number of infected persons at the moment, among those tested positive/preliminarily positive, individuals with higher risks or serious conditions will be handled with priority. Infected persons with no or mild symptoms should stay calm while waiting for admission. They should continue to monitor their physical conditions and perform good hygiene practices and take preventative measures.
- If your helper develops severe symptoms while waiting at home (e.g. prolonged fever at 38 degrees Celsius or above, or signs such as shortness of breath, palpitations and chest pain) then you should call the ambulance to be admitted to hospital as quickly as possible. Avoid taking public transport to the hospital’s accident and emergency unit.
- Please check the Centre for Health Protection website for the latest information.
What to do if I am waiting for admission into the hospital?
The Hospital Authority announced a number of designated clinics for confirmed cases of COVID-19 to help provide diagnosis and treatment for the people with mild symptoms of infection, such as fever, cough or sore throat, after being notified by the Department of Health on their positive results and while awaiting hospital admission.
The designated clinics will be open from Monday to Sunday, including public holidays, from 9am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5pm. Eligible patients should call the selected designated clinic to make an appointment, and will be provided the earliest appointment time slot in the next 24 hours. Appointments can only be made by calling the following hotline: 1836 115. Only those who have made appointments can be accepted.
The hotline 1836 115 will operate daily from 8am to 10pm seven days a week beginning today to answer enquiries on medical information and provide infection control advice for people pending admission to isolation facilities upon confirmed infection.
If the patients have mild symptoms that can be controlled by paracetamol or cough medicine, then they can monitor their condition and stay at home. But for those patients who have symptoms but do not have medication at home or after a telephone consultation or enquiry still want to see a doctor, the designated clinic is an option.
Patients should visit the designated clinics by designated taxis as far as possible. The designated taxis will only transport those with appointments made with the designated clinics, and will not pick up other passengers. Specific labels will be affixed on the taxi bodies for public identification. To book a designated taxi, patients with appointments at designated clinics can go to the dedicated booking platform (www.designatedtaxihk.com) from 7am on February 18, or call 3693 4770 (8am to 10pm from the same day). They need to provide their name, contact number, appointment time, designated clinic, pick-up location and other information. The drivers of the designated fleet will contact them to confirm and arrange the transport services.
What do I do if I have no or mild symptoms?
Persons tested positive for COVID-19 who have no or mild symptoms will be sent to a Community Isolation Facility (CIF) whenever possible to undergo 14-day isolation arrangement.
Those in suitable household conditions (e.g. living alone or do not have household members who are high-risk individuals, such as the elderly, pregnant women or immunocompromised persons) will be tested on the 7th day. Should the Day 7 test result be negative, these persons may return home and stay there until Day 14 for further testing. If the result is again negative, they may leave home and continue with their daily activities. If the Day 14 test result is positive, they will need to stay home and conduct daily tests until a negative result is obtained. Only by then can they leave home and continue with their daily activities.
Should the Day 7 test result be positive, these persons will need to stay at CIF until Day 14 for further testing. If the result is negative, they may leave CIF and continue with their daily activities. If the Day 14 test result is still positive, they will need to stay at CIF and conduct daily tests until a negative result is obtained. Only by then can they leave CIF and continue with their daily activities.
For those in unsuitable household conditions (e.g. household members comprise some high-risk individuals), they will be tested on Day 14 after a positive nucleic acid test result was obtained. If the Day 14 test result is negative, they may leave CIF and continue with their daily activities. If the Day 14 test result is positive, they will need to stay at CIF and conduct daily tests until a negative result is obtained. Only by then can they leave CIF and continue with their daily activities.
Infected persons who have been sent to CIFs and persons pending admission may conduct rapid antigen tests (RAT) on Day 6 and Day 7 after tested positive should they have received at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Similarly, close contacts who have received at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccines may conduct RATs on Day 6 and Day 7 of the home quarantine period. If they obtain negative test results during RATs on these two successive days, they may leave CIF or home premises earlier on Day 7 for their daily activities. Conversely, if they obtain at least one positive test result during RATs on these two days, they will need to continue undergoing isolation or home quarantine in accordance with the original arrangement. The latest criteria mentioned above is not applicable to those who have not been vaccinated or have only received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
In case persons pending admission to hospitals or isolation facilities cannot be sent to hospitals or CIFs in a timely manner during their wait at home, they may conduct a test on Day 14 after tested positive and leave home upon obtaining a negative test result.
Other important points to note:
- The employment agency should be contacted for guidance and support. The employment agency is also required to report to the relevant Consulates, as the agency should be aware of the domestic helper’s welfare.
- As the domestic helper will be under a working visa, she will have access to public health on an HK-resident rate. If the domestic helper has just arrived at HK airport, the working visa is automatically activated upon arrival.
- The domestic helper will be considered fully recovered and fit-to-work upon the end of sick leave which is usually stated on her hospital discharge. She will be given the relevant medical documentation and instructions on any follow up medical appointments. In general, when a patient is fully recovered, COVID is no longer contagious and they will have antibodies.
- For a healthy relationship, employers should keep open-communication with their domestic helper on work and health situations.
- Seek guidance from the Labour Department and/or agency if you are unsure about salary and sickness allowance payment. (See also: Are employers required to pay a domestic helper’s salary while they are unable to return to work?)
- It is illegal to terminate a domestic worker for being tested COVID-19 positive. Employers should not terminate the contract for the reason that the domestic helper has tested positive for COVID-19. Read more here: The Hong Kong Government has advised this would be a violation of the Employment Ordinance and/or Disability Discrimination Ordinance.
- Domestic workers under employment contract with a valid employment visa will have access to Hong Kong Public Health at a regular local Hong Kong resident rate.
- The following domestic workers will be counted as a non-Hong Kong resident rate when accessing Hong Kong Public Health services:
- Workers after termination
- Workers have stepped down in between jobs, waiting for next visa (= gap period)
- Read more about Compulsory Testing and “StayHomeSafe” Scheme in our Get Answers article here.
- We do our best to keep our articles up-to-date. Please double-check with the relevant organisations directly for the latest.
OWWA Special Cash Assistance
OWWA has announced Special Cash Assistance for domestic workers who have contracted COVID-19. Domestic workers can fill out the Google Form by clicking HERE to submit your application (Gmail account is required for login to upload your documents). OWWA will reply through email if your submitted application has been verified.
To be eligible for the cash assistance, you must:
- Be an OWWA Member
- Domestic worker confirmed positive with COVID-19
- Medical Letter / Certificate from hospital or Laboratory Result as proof
- Copy of Passport
- Copy of HKID
Keep Testing and Vaccination Records with you
Domestic helpers may be asked by law enforcement or Labour Department officers to prove that they have done the compulsory COVID-19 testing. Domestic helpers should make sure to not delete and keep the SMS Text Message with the COVID-19 test result in case they are asked for it. For domestic helpers who have received both the COVID-19 vaccines before 16 May, and are exempted from testing, they should make sure to download and keep the vaccination records on their phones in case they are asked for this. The Labour Department conducted an inspection on 16 May at areas where many domestic helpers congregate on their rest day.
Need to Download your Testing or Vaccination Records?
Learn how to at: https://www.evt.gov.hk/portal/en/
Withdrawal of Vaccination Policy for Domestic Worker Visas
The Hong Kong Government has reviewed and withdrawn plans to require domestic helpers to be vaccinated before renewal of contract or when signing a new contract. Domestic helpers may take the vaccinations voluntarily for free. Read: FAQs on the Covid-19 vaccine programme for domestic helpers
You may also like:
- Quick guide for Employers of Domestic Helpers
- COVID-19 updates affecting domestic helpers & employers
- Can domestic helpers get vaccines in the Philippines before coming to Hong Kong?
- FAQs on the Covid-19 vaccine programme for domestic helpers
- How can domestic helpers get a visa extension?
- Do I need domestic helper insurance during employment?
- Do I have to pay for a domestic helper’s medical expenses?
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Last updated on March 9th, 2022