The SAR government had earlier announce that the Centre will allocate 800 rooms from the 3,416-room Centre to house foreign domestic helpers arriving in Hong Kong to undergo their 21-day quarantine, with a room rate of no more than HK$500 per night.

The labor chief said today that the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre on Lantau Island will not be fully utilized for incoming domestic helpers to undergo their compulsory quarantine.

Meanwhile, he admitted that the 800 rooms at the Centre, along with another 400 rooms provided by the quarantine hotel Silka Tsuen Wan, will surely not be able to meet the local demand.

When asked why wouldn’t authorities free up more rooms at the Centre, Law said they will have to reserve the rooms to house close contacts of infected patients.

“It is inappropriate and impossible to allocate all the rooms at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre for incoming domestic helpers to undergo their compulsory quarantine. In the meantime, we will look for other hotels to provide more rooms for them,” said Law.

“Given both Indonesia and the Philippines are classified as ‘high-risk’ areas, authorities would only look for hotels that were quarantine hotels in the past, giving us not many options,” he added.

Law stressed that preventing the importation of cases is of the utmost importance in Hong Kong, in which domestic helpers could only arrive in the city in batches in an orderly manner.