COVID-19 subsidy only for workers in Hong Kong without paid sick leave

The HK$5,000 (US$645) handout will only cover residents such as freelancers, taxi drivers, and the self-employed.
By: | November 26, 2020

A handout of HK$5,000 (US$645) will only be applicable to workers who contract COVID-19 locally, and are not entitled to paid sick leave, announced the government after caving in to pressures to tighten the criteria for the subsidy.

The handout would only cover residents such as freelancers, taxi drivers, and the self-employed, who will face substantial deductions to their income, and suffer financial difficulties when hospitalised, said Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong, according to South China Morning Post. 

This comes as Hong Kong battles escalating cases of new Covid-19 cases, which recorded 73 new infections on Monday, its highest count in about three months. 

To qualify, workers who have been infected locally from Sunday onwards will be able to apply by engaging medical social workers at public hospitals. 

They will need to provide details such as their addresses and occupations, and make a declaration when they apply, bearing any legal responsibility for false claims. Random cross-checks will be carried out by the Social Welfare Department.

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However, the subsidy will not be applicable to close contacts of confirmed cases who had to be quarantined as a precautionary measure.

In the face of worsening conditions, Hong Kong has since announced that it will close bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues for the third time this year. It has also mandated the use of a tracing app for entrance to restaurants, gyms and hotels.