Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

EOC Calls for Flexibility and Tolerance


Responding to the latest government measures to prevent the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Hong Kong, the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Anna Wu said, "Fighting this disease is a community issue, and members of the community will need to co-operate and be tolerant of those in need. The family members of SARS patients may not be sick. Divisive behaviour such as stigmatization would only hamper surveillance, making it difficult for those who wish to seek medical help, ultimately creating detriment to our society as a whole."

"We have received enquiries reflecting concerns about public disclosure of health conditions or personal particulars of those at risk. We urge the community to protect and respect the privacy of those individuals affected. Any measure regarding disclosure of other particulars must be justified on the basis of being reasonably necessary to protect public health and we hope disclosure of any information will go no further than the block and name of a building," Ms Wu continued.

Since Monday, 24 March 2003, the Commission has received a total of 162 enquiries and 13 complaints relating to SARS. The breakdown is as follows:  

Disability Discrimination Ordinance related enquiries                               136
Sex Discrimination Ordinance related enquiries                                        21
Family Status Discrimination related enquiries                                           1       
Others                                                                                                     4

Total number of enquiries received                                                          162

A total of 13 complaints has been received under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance and the breakdown is as follows:

1. Employment – 7 complaints

2. Provision of goods and services – 4 complaints

3. Provision of sub-titles in media announcement – 1 complaint

4. Vilification – 1 complaint

"We can see from the figures that the employment field reflects the largest number of complaints. Employers are advised to provide employees with the maximum level of flexibility, in dealing with sick leave, special paid leave and pregnancy leave," Ms Wu added.

The following services are provided to those who may require assistance:

1. The EOC Hotline: 2511 8211

2. The Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong Children Hotline: 2520 6800

3. Caritas SARS Emotional Support Hotline: 2337 5487

4. Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association Helpline: 2711 6622

5. Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service Hong Kong Emotional Support Hotline: 3124 7845

Enquiry: Mr. Sam HO 21062187