Lam promises to listen, find solutions for Hong Kong in 2020

UNTV News   •   December 31, 2019   •   188

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday in a New Year’s Eve message that she had the responsibility to solve the city’s problems, which has been rocked by anti-government protests for more than six months.

In a three-minute video titled “Treasure Hong Kong … our home” Lam took stock of 2019, a year which, according to her, has “caused sadness, anxiety, disappointment and even rage.”

“I will listen humbly to find a way out […] so we can begin together,” the leader said in the video-speech posted on her Facebook page.

Lam expressed hope for reconciliation in 2020 and said Hong Kong people have “resolved many difficulties before.”

However, some residents Tuesday were back on the streets mobilizing meetings throughout the day and urging people to not forget what had happened in 2019 and continue protesting in 2020.

Hong Kong Police has deployed 6,000 officers to contain protesters during New Year celebrations, local media outlets reported.

Thousands are expected to gather Wednesday, New Year’s Day, for a march called by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has mobilized more than 1 million pro-democracy protesters on earlier occasions.

Police have not authorized the march and warned in a video posted on its website that protesters would “not get public support” if they used violence and officers would be forced to arrest them.

Demonstrations in Hong Kong began in June following a controversial extradition bill, already withdrawn by the government, but have mutated into a movement seeking to improve Hong Kong’s democratic mechanisms and safeguard the region’s partial autonomy from Beijing.

Some demonstrators have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful civil disobedience and violent clashes with the police have been frequent.

Months of protests have plunged Hong Kong’s economy into recession for the first time in a decade, having contracted by 2.9 percent in the third quarter, due to falling imports and exports, retail sales and declining tourism. EFE-EPA

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Filipino maid tested positive for COVID-19 in Hong Kong “in good condition”

Marje Pelayo   •   February 20, 2020

HONG KONG – The Philippine Consulate General’s office confirmed on Thursday (February 20) that the Filipino maid who contracted the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is now in stable condition.

Maganda ang kaniyang disposisyon at hindi siya kinakikitaan ng sintomas ng sakit gaya ng sipon, ubo, at lagnat (Her disposition is good and she is not showing signs of illness like cold, cough or fever),” the Consulate General’s office said in a statement.

Siya ay nasa mabuting kalagayan (She is in good condition),” the office confirmed.

The Pinay worker, however, is still not allowed to accept visitors as the results of the series of tests on her samples are still pending.

The Consulate preferred not to disclose the identity of the Filipino helper as requested by the patient herself but the office assured to provide her the necessary assistance on the course of her recovery.

Meanwhile, the Consulate General’s Office reiterates its appeal to the public not to spread fake news on social media so as not to cause panic.

Muli rin pong nanawagan ang Konsulado na iwasan ang pagpapakalat ng mga ‘fake news’ o anumang impormasyon na hindi beripikado (The Consulate Office reiterates our call (on Filipinos) to avoid spreading fake news or any unverified information),” the Consulate General’s office stressed.

Ito po ay upang maiwasan ang alarma at pagaalala lalo na ng ating mga mahal sa buhay (So as not to cause alarm and panic among our relatives),” it added.

Official information and updates regarding the situation of Filipinos in Hong Kong in relation to COVID-19 outbreak may be accessed on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PHLinHK/.  

Health waivers mandatory for Filipinos leaving for Hong Kong, Macau

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino household helpers may now return to their employers in Hong Kong after the Philippine government ordered a partial lifting of the travel ban amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Brigido Dulay confirmed the order on Tuesday (February 18) as Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that the partial lifting was in response to the mounting requests from returning workers to Hong Kong.

“There had been persistent requests from the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) themselves,” he said.

“In fact, I received one call that he was fired from that position because he has not gone back, maybe that’s the reason why,” he added.

However, confusions emerged over the terms and conditions for their return, specifically the government’s requirement that they sign a written declaration acknowledging the risk of coronavirus infection if they head to the administrative territory.

But the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) stressed that such declaration is mandatory.

“With the exemption, OFWs returning to Hong Kong and Macau shall be required to execute a declaration which states that they are aware of the risks involved,” the DFA said in an advisory.

“Newly-hired Filipino employees are likewise exempted from the ban as long as they also sign the form that can be obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA),” it added.

Nonetheless, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin assured that despite the risk, the government will always be ready to provide them assistance even as one Filipino maid has been confirmed positive for the virus.

“Don’t worry, they’ll sign health waivers but we won’t waive our obligation to take care of them wherever they are,” Locsin said.

Aside from the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Filipinos with permanent residency status in Macau and China are also allowed to depart as well as Filipino students enrolled there.

Meanwhile, Filipino travelers from China with foreign spouses and their children will also be allowed entry to the Philippines as well as all holders of diplomatic visas subject to a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

Filipino maid in HK tests positive for coronavirus, contact tracing launched

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

HONG KONG – The Philippine Consulate General confirmed on Tuesday (February 18) that a Filipino household helper tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Currently isolated at Pamela Youde Nethersole Estern Hospital in Chai Wan, the 32-year-old Filipina maid initially tested negative of COVID-19 after she consulted for cough and slight fever.

Three days later, she returned with a positive result.

She is believed to have contracted the virus from her 67-year-old employer who tested positive for the virus on February 13.

Philippine Consul General Raly Tejada said they have launched contact tracing of the people who were in close contact with the Filipina maid in the past weeks.

He assured that all necessary assistance will be provided to the Filipino national.

“The Consulate General sent a team to the hospital to check on her condition,” the Consul General said in a statement.

“Rest assured that the government will render all necessary assistance to the Filipino national,” he added.

The Filipino domestic worker is the 61st positive case of COVID-19 in the administrative territory.

The report came on the day the Philippine government allowed Filipino domestic workers to return to their employers in Hong Kong amid the coronavirus crisis.

In an advisory, the Consulate General advised all Filipinos in Hong Kong to always monitor their health conditions and avoid crowded places to prevent contagion. MNP (with inputs from Ferdie Petalio)

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