英文

Editorial:Same mistake repeated in fight against pandemic

【明報專訊】There has been another outbreak involving a dormitory of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in Hong Kong, and one of them has even infected all members of the family she works for. The government has announced that it will provide one-time free testing for all FDHs in Hong Kong. That seems to be the right remedy, but it is doubtful whether it will actually tackle the issue at root. The tests will be conducted over a span of one month and a half and will not be mandatory. As many FDHs are worried about their livelihood more than the risk of infection, we will have to wait and see how many people will actively participate in the testing scheme. Most FDH dormitories are unlicensed and have poor living conditions. As early as the third wave of the pandemic, many people pointed out that FDH dormitories were a major loophole, and they asked the Hong Kong government to strengthen supervision and enforcement. But so far, there has been no significant improvement, as different departments are working separately and shift the responsibility of supervision onto each other. From the spread of the virus on public housing estates under the ''wake effect'' to the outbreak of the pandemic at FDH dormitories, similar infections have occurred time and again. As the authorities have not learnt the lesson from previous loopholes, it is unlikely for them not to repeat the same mistake.

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