There has been no sign of abatement since the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan at the end of last year. In Europe, there has even been a recent large-scale outbreak, which is extremely worrisome.
The pandemic has a tremendous impact on the education sector. The PTU has been paying close attention to and following up with teachers on related issues in the past months, including financial pressure faced by kindergartens under long-term suspension, schools’ procurement of prevention products, arrangement of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE), and the retention of Hong Kong students in Hubei. At the same time, in cooperation with RTHK, the PTU has resumed the online programme in which teachers answer questions from students to support their learning needs during the pandemic.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the PTU Welfare Department has been exerting full efforts in procuring and making available prevention products at nearly the original costs. Since January, the Mong Kong Service Centre alone has sold more than 400,000 masks. This amount is certainly far from sufficient for all members considering the PTU has 100,000 members. The PTU has not been advertising the sale of masks because it is the PTU’s mission as the labour union to serve their members and its intention is only to go an extra mile for teachers in face of the tightened supply of masks globally. The PTU has now set up a system to draw lots. Members can register online and will be notified when masks are back in stock.
As some pharmacies began to gouge alcohol rubs and cleaning supplies, the PTU Welfare Department also stepped up in contacting merchants to ensure supply as well as to resell these products at as low a price as possible.
As daily necessities were all sold out at supermarkets in Hong Kong last month, the PTU unprecedentedly sold toilet rolls to its members. The PTU has also rationed products in higher demand to ensure more members could benefit from the sale.
Lee Ka-Wang, Publication Department Deputy Director