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Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022

Push to hire jobless for war on Covid

Push to hire jobless for war on Covid

Authorities should hire the jobless to distribute anti-Covid materials sent from the mainland as hundreds of thousands of patients isolating at home are left unattended, lawmaker Vincent Cheng Wing-shun said.
Some people who tested positive had to head out to buy medication even though they are infectious, Cheng from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said.

With no assistance from authorities, those who tested positive had no choice but to head out for supplies.

Cheng said he received 200 to 300 requests for help a day with people saying they couldn't connect to government hotlines or reach the Department of Health.

He said other patients utilized the delay in the implementation of the self-declaration platform for those testing positive in rapid tests by still going to work because they are in "hand-to-mouth" jobs.

While the government said a week ago that it will set up a system for people to report their rapid test results, it has yet to be launched.

With no official confirmation of one's Covid infection, workers face difficulties in getting sick leave. Some eventually headed back to work, Cheng said.

"The government should deploy more community forces, including inviting more institutions, organizations, property owners' groups and property management companies to help distribute supplies," he said.

"Quite a number of people are unemployed right now and the government can hire these people to help."

Sze Lai-shan, deputy director of Society for Community Organization, said when patients test positive they cannot go to quarantine even after a week's wait - increasing risks for their family members to be infected, especially in crowded environments such as partition flats.

Sze said people are not being given clear instructions on how they can alleviate symptoms during home isolation, and they do not receive assistance for food and have to rely on non-governmental organizations.

In a statement on Saturday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor admitted that the SAR's anti-Covid policies are too ambitious for its capacities.

"We're doing everything we can to protect citizens' lives but it has far exceeded our capacities to execute the measures," she said.

"We'll fully utilize the central government's support and unite in improving and implementing anti-Covid policies to win this epidemic battle."

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