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Hoteliers give FG conditions to release facilities

Hoteliers have given the Federal Government conditions for the use of their hotels as isolation centres in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had on Thursday said the Federal Government would require hotels and school dormitories as quarantine and isolation centres because of a shortage of hospital beds.

As of the time of filing this report, Nigeria had recorded 9,855 COVID-19 cases, 273 deaths and 2,856 recoveries, according to data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had said,

“We need to continue increasing bed capacity to match the probable number of patients so that we do not experience horrific scenes of bed space shortages seen in some European hospitals.

“I, therefore, call on activists and philanthropists to work with state governments to scale up non-pharmaceutical measures and beef up infrastructural assets for isolation and treatment in their states.”

Stating their position on this, hoteliers under the Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria said they were ready to support the government in this time of need, though the government must meet their conditions.

HAFTAN President, Mr Samson Aturu, said, “In collaboration with FTAN (Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria), we have had lots of discussion on this issue. Our position is that hotels can collaborate with the government because this is a matter of national interest. But the government must be ready to negotiate with hotel owners. The association does not have a direct authority on hotel owners because most hotels are owned by investors.

“Already, we have developed a standard operating procedure in these COVID-19 times which will be applied to all our hotels. The idea is that if a hotel is going to be used as an isolation centre, the facility must be decontaminated after a COVID-19 patient is discharged. This is one of the conditions for giving out hotels to the government to use as isolation centres.

“We don’t want a situation whereby we would allow hotels to be used as isolation centres and we would have to be begging the government to pay the bills afterwards,” he said.

In addition, Aturu said most hotels spent a lot on electricity bills, saying the government must be ready to assume the payment of such expenses.

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