HOW CORONAVIRUS AFFECTING US , AS A DOMESTIC WORKERS IN HONG KONG

Domestic workers in Hongkong typically only have one day off each week it’s either on weekdays but mostly Sunday and use the time to meet friends and relax  away from the confines of the often tiny apartments of their employers. They enjoy their weekly day off at the city’s public spaces,city’s large parks and roads are modified into a multitude of activity, active with dance routines, karaoke, games, video call with family and prayers.

 

DOMESTIC WORKERS FACING CHALLENGES  NOWADAYS

 

But because of this CORONAVIRUS,  Hong kong Government Department issued a statement calling for foreign domestic workers to “ stay home on their rest day” to minimize the virus .Government data shows there were 386,075 domestic workers in Hong Kong in 2018, the most recent data available, with nearly

211,000 from the Philippine. The next biggest group comes from Indonesia.

Many of the domestic  helpers working here in hong kong have a different scenario

and a different story. Most of them need to stay at home for their holiday because of the situation around the 2019-nCoV and this is being challenged to spend beyond the confines of their workplace. Why is it challenging for them ?

Well , one of my friends here in Hongkong  her  name is Malou working  as a helper for  more than 1 year, she’s one of the domestic helpers that need to stay home during rest day, she don’t have a private room to take a rest, and only sleeping on the sofa in the living room, or sleeping with the kids. So when the department encourages employers not to let their helper go out during their day off,

What do you think she’s  going to do on her holiday? Is she going to stand in the kitchen the whole day, or is she going to sit down in the living room with the whole family? “ She is going to work a little like washing the plate, throwing away the garbage,  etc. So, for her it’s not a rest day and the sad thing is sometimes her employer forget that day is her holiday and let her  work like a normal day.

As I said earlier domestic workers here, have a  different story and different scenario. Like My story, Yeah! I’ve  been working here for 6 years here in Hongkong just call me Jana and this is my first time to spend my day off at home.  For almost 3 Sundays “stay at home” is quite boring. I missed a lot ,I missed my busy Sunday chatting with my friends and  especially going to church. Although I am experiencing this situation, I am still blessed and thankful to have a nice  and open minded employer. I can take a rest “as in full rest” without disturbing it because I have my own room .

I know this virus is not forever, there’s an end to this disease. The important thing is my health and my employer’s health.

 

HELPER and EMPLOYERS WORRIED

 

Another story that helpers and employers are worried about due this Coronavirus are just recent news. Hundreds of domestic helpers are unable to fly to Hongkong after a travel ban by Philippines to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

One of them named Ariana who went home for holiday and had her flight back in Hongkong was cancelled on Sunday night. She thought it was an issue with the airlines, but it turned out it was because of the ban. Her employer expects that she will arrive that night, her employer needs her to come home for work as soon as possible. Her boss tried to arrange  her flight to return by transiting through a third country,  but it was uncertain whether that would work.

With the coronavirus still spreading,  Hong Kong schools, community centers and nurseries closed for another four weeks at least, families with absent helpers are scrambling to manage their own jobs in a childcare vacuum. “ Helpers are actually integral to Hong Kong. Without them, the local community will not be able to go out from work  “There will be no one to take care of their children, take care of the elderly or to do the household chores.”

Some stories are that a newcomer helper had been expected this month of  February to come in Hongkong to start work but the agency could only notify employers about the postponement of their arrival.

 

Should you worry about catching this virus?

Unless you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the coronavirus — you’re likely to be safe.

While we don’t yet fully understand the particulars of how this virus spreads, coronaviruses usually spread through droplets, So it’s likely that coughs or sneezes from an infected person may spread the virus.

The best thing that we can do is to be more aware of our surroundings , Wash your hands regularly. Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands. Stay home from work or school if you have a fever. Stay away from people who have signs of a respiratory tract infection, such as runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.

 

BE ALERT BUT NOT ANXIOUS

 

Thank you Mary Jane, domestic driver in Hong Kong for sharing her Article.

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