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Press Releases & Updates

13 MAR 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Relief Efforts

With limited masks and disinfectants for sale, and the price of these items soaring in Hong Kong, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 is affecting vulnerable groups most as many of them can’t shoulder these expenses. Even with the temporary stabilisation of the prices of these items, the epidemic is continuing to spread unabated, and is still putting pressure on these groups. That’s why we at Oxfam Hong Kong (OHK) have been working with underprivileged groups – like street cleaners and sanitation workers, low-income families, ethnic minorities, the elderly, chronically ill, and visually impaired to fight against the epidemic.

OHK has been working with partner organisations since late January to reach low-income and vulnerable groups to enable them to better protect themselves against the novel coronavirus. Thanks to the generosity of people from across society, and through our own procurement efforts, we have received 120,000 masks, 55,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. As of 13 March, we have distributed 108,000 masks and 44,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.

 

DISTRIBUTING RELIEF AND PROMOTING HYGIENE

Protecting Frontline Cleaners

With the continued spread of the virus, cleaners have been put on the frontlines to keep public hygiene in check. Without even basic protective equipment like masks, they are put at great risk. Since the beginning of February, we have been working with various partner organisations, including Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers, the Cleaning Worker Union, and Health In Action to distribute the masks and hand sanitizer. Together, we have distributed 37,000 masks and shared ways to prevent the spread of the epidemic, and have reached close to 4,000 cleaners who work in high-risk conditions. We have also distributed hand sanitizer to some of these cleaners.

According to the Cleaning Worker Union’s estimates, around 20 per cent of outsourced cleaners from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are ethnic minorities, and many are Nepalese. Since most information about the epidemic in Hong Kong is either in Chinese or English, it can be difficult for some ethnic minorities to understand. During distributions with our partner organisations, Health In Action and Cleaning Worker Union brought translators along to explain how they can help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the language they are most comfortable with.

政策倡議: 要求政府關注清潔工處境

Advocacy: Care for our cleaners

While distributing masks and hand sanitiser, we worked with our partners to interview 149 cleaners from across 15 districts to understand cleaners’ working conditions during the epidemic. The results were announced at our joint press conference on 18 February; many interviewees said they were ill equipped. We thus urge the government and outsourced cleaning companies to provide cleaners with the protective equipment they need.

Learn more

 

 

Offering Low-Income and Vulnerable Groups Relief

Aside from reaching cleaners, we have also been distributing masks and hand sanitizer to various vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and chronically-ill who find it difficult to go out to buy these items. We have also reached over a dozen groups that work with seniors, low-income families and children from South Asian communities in Tung Chung, Kwai Chung, To Kwa Wan and Tuen Mun. These communities have received masks as well as leaflets in various languages about how to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Before Chinese New Year, we at OHK distributed 12,000 bottles of Walch hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes to members of over 20 local organisations. These included the Community Development Alliance, and Society for Community Organization, which work with low-income families; the Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers, and Cleaning Worker Union, which work with street cleaners; Concerning Home Care Service Alliance, which support elderly, chronically ill patients as well as carers; and organisations that work with the ethnic minority population. We also distributed 600 bottles of Walch hand sanitizer and 768 packs of antibacterial wipes to members of the Hong Kong Blind Union.

Easing the Financial Burden on Poor Families

Distributing Rice to Low-Income Families

To ease the financial burden on low-income families, especially with the price of necessities like masks going up, we at OHK began distributing six tonnes of rice to 2,540 families with partner organisations like 1 Step Association, Alliance for Children Development Rights, Alliance for Protection of Low-income Families, Community Development Alliance (Tin Shui Wai), H.K.S.K.H. Tseung Kwan O Aged Care Complex, and Society for Community Organization.

We would like to thank Health In Action, Tianjin Bird’s Nest (HK) Company Limited, Li Ka Shing Foundation, Koo Tin Lok Charitable Foundation, singer JW (Joey Wong), Active Concept and all donors for donating masks, hand sanitizer and other items to enable low-income and vulnerable communities better protect themselves against COVID-19. We at OHK are currently discussing the next phase of our work with our partner organisations. We’ll continue to source masks and other items to ensure the poor are well protected against this epidemic, and ease their burdens. We’ll also continue to urge the government to do their part to protect the poor during this difficult time.

 

Organisations OHK is distributing relief to:

  • 1 Step Association
  • Alliance for Children Development Rights
  • Alliance for Social Protection of Low-income Families
  • Catering and Hotel Industries Employees General Union
  • Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers – Hong Kong Island
  • Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers – Kowloon
  • Catholic Diocese of HK Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Workers – New Territories
  • Celebrity Charity Fund Association Ltd.
  • Cleaning Worker Union
  • Concern for Grassroots' Livelihood Alliance
  • Concerning CSSA and Low Income Alliance
  • Concerning Grassroots' Housing Rights Alliance
  • Concerning Home Care Service Alliance
  • H.K.S.K.H. Tseung Kwan O Aged Care Complex
  • HK Islamic Youth Association
  • Hong Chi Association

 

  • Hong Kong Blind Union
  • Hong Kong Islamic Culture and Welfare Society
  • Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association
  • Islamic Union of HK
  • Jubilee Ministries
  • Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre
  • Kwun Tong Methodist Social Service
  • Mission Bridge
  • Muslim Council of Hong Kong
  • People Service Centre
  • Society for Community Organization
  • Street Sleepers Action Committee
  • Tin Shui Wai Community Development Alliance
  • Tung Chung Community Development Alliance
  • United Muslim Association of HK
  • United Welfare Union

 

Together, we can make a difference!

 

Since there remains a shortage in face masks and the price of these is still quite steep, we will continue to collect face masks and distribute them to people in urgent need. Your donations can help vulnerable groups protect themselves against COVID-19!

We welcome

  • Adult and child size, three-layer filter face masks that come in boxes, bags or are individually packaged

(As the supply and the price of hand sanitizer has stabilized, we will not be collecting them anymore for the time being.)

Collection points and time:

  • Oxfam Hong Kong office: 17/F China United Centre, 28 Marble Road, North Point, Hong Kong
    Monday to Friday, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm / 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  • The Oxfam Shop: LG 8, Jardine House, 1 Connaught Place, Central, Hong Kong
    Monday to Friday, 10:30 am - 6:30 pm / Saturday, 10:30 am - 4:30 pm

For enquiry, please call: 3120 5000