COVID-19 practice implications for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong

Gizem ARAT (Presenter), Narine KERELIAN (Presenter)

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Like many settings worldwide, Hong Kong has recently been combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. Ethnic minorities have reported perceived discrimination via local media outlets. They have been stereotyped as virus spreaders due to the increasing number of confirmed cases and untraceable COVID-19 clusters in Hong Kong. Using a social justice framework, this qualitative study explores gaps in COVID-19 prevention practices to eliminate systemic barriers for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. Fifteen interviews were conducted with social service providers who worked closely with ethnic minority groups (South and Southeast Asian groups from low-income households, foreign domestic workers, and asylum seekers and refugees) during the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. This study yielded six themes using thematic analysis as follows: 1) lacking mental health support for diverse ethnic minority groups, 2) lacking efforts to eliminate perceived discrimination, 3) existing language barriers across diverse services, 4) lacking channels to disseminate accurate information, 5) a need for advanced technology, and 6) lacking appropriate surgical mask sizes for some ethnic minority individuals. This study recommends culturally responsive practices in Hong Kong and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2022
EventHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference: Health and Wellbeing in (Post-) Pandemic Times - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 3 Dec 20223 Dec 2022
Conference number: 23


ConferenceHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference
CityHong Kong
OtherAs an unprecedented public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the focal concern of sociologists around the world. Globally, there have been over six hundred million confirmed cases, including over six million of deaths. Over the past few years, we have experienced the tremendous impacts brought by the pandemic on various domains of life. Apart from infected and death cases, we have seen a surge of mental health issues, suicides, domestic violence, as well as plummeting economic growth and escalating unemployment and poverty rates. Whether to embrace the “new normal” by easing public health and social distancing measures is a contentious issue as much among world leaders as ordinary citizens. From a sociological perspective, most impacts brought by the pandemic are believed to be structural and long lasting. As not everyone has equal access to vaccines, personal protective equipment, healthcare and other resources, health and social inequalities are expected to be worsening. There are also concerns about the lack of affordable childcare and technological equipment for attending online classes during pandemic times, which would have lingering effects on education, digital, and social inequalities across generations.

Against this background, this conference aims to address the pressing issues of health and wellbeing in pandemic and post-pandemic times from a sociological perspective. It provides a platform for scholars, students, and other stakeholders to discuss the implications of the pandemic for health and social inequalities among other issues. On that basis, participants will explore practical and policy responses to enhance health and wellbeing in the (post-)pandemic condition.
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