Only 120 mainlanders have so far been hired in a drive to ease the staff shortage in care homes, says Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong.
Law said the 120 recruited as of Friday will undergo a three-day training program before starting work.
Law said authorities last month planned to recruit some 1,000 mainland carers on temporary contracts to look after elderly citizens at isolation and treatment facilities.
He said the manpower shortage will persist for a while, given that 800 elderly care homes need 2,000 to 3,000 staff amid the pandemic.The Standard ChannelMore>>
Another 1,000 to 2,000 workers are needed for temporary care centers for elderly Covid patients who have no or mild symptoms at care homes, Law said.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said it is reasonable that mainland workers are not willing to come to Hong Kong due to the current situation.
Lam said the difficulty in hiring is not necessarily related to the pay, given that the monthly salary of carers- local or from the mainland - would exceed HK$30,000 after counting the special subsidies.
Lam said mainland workers who used to come to work in Hong Kong may have also chosen to wait and see.
On a brighter note, the numbers of applications from local carers has increased, she added.
Separately, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said on television that 52 percent of elderly care home residents have received at least one jab.
Nip said outreach vaccination teams have visited more than 900 of the over 1,000 care homes in Hong Kong to administer jabs to the elderly and disabled, adding they can visit the remaining 100 by Friday.
"The outbreaks at care homes have been serious recently and around 30 percent of residents have been infected," he said.
"Infected residents should receive the second jab one month after recovering because their infection equals the first dose of vaccine."
Nip said around 10 percent of residents' family members are against vaccination even if they are fit for the jabs. There will be different arrangements for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents, he added, and the activities of unvaccinated residents may be restricted.
The government has said it aims to vaccinate all elderly people who are staying in care homes by Friday.