The COVID-19 Pandemic in Hong Kong : Exploring the Gaps in COVID-19 Prevention Practices from a Social Justice Framework

Gizem ARAT*, Narine KERELIAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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: (i) lacking mental health support for diverse ethnic minority groups; (ii) lacking efforts to eliminate perceived discrimination; (iii) existing language barriers across diverse services; (iv) lacking channels to disseminate accurate information; (v) a need for advanced technology and (vi) lacking appropriate surgical mask sizes for some ethnic minority individuals. This study recommends culturally responsive practices in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbcac207
Pages (from-to)1204-1224
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number2
Early online date10 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

This research received the grant funded by the Faculty Research Grant (No:SSFRG/20/2/1) Faculty of Social Sciences, Lingnan University.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Hong Kong
  • pandemic prevention practices
  • racial minorities
  • social justice


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