Hotels Decline FG’s Request To Use Their Premises To Quarantine Nigerians Awaiting Evacuation -Onyeama
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that it has been a huge challenge for the Ministry to secure hotels to use as isolation centres for Nigerian returnees when they arrive in the country.
According to the Minister, hotels in Lagos State and the Federal Capital Territory have refused to release their rooms for isolation centres for returnees because of the fear of the stigmatizing effect it may have on their brands.
Onyeama disclosed this during the update by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 in Abuja on Friday.
He stated that evacuation of 2,000 Nigerians in the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, China and other countries had registered with the Nigerian missions in their country of residence, which begins on Monday, on the condition that they will subject themselves to the mandatory coronavirus testing and 14-day quarantine on arrival in Abuja or Lagos.
Onyeama however stated that getting the hotels to quarantine them has been challenging, as he sought the assistance of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also could not secure any in the state to release their premises as isolation centres.
The Minister said:
“The numbers (of Nigerians awaiting evacuation) in the UK alone is about 2,000 and the simple fact of the matter is that we don’t just have the isolation centres, the hospital beds and hotels to accommodate them all.
“We have been looking for hotels in Abuja and Lagos. I spoke this afternoon (Friday) with the governor of Lagos State and it is a real challenge even for the governor to find hotels that are willing to take these people in for 14 days.
“A lot of hotels clearly feel it would damage their brand or it would have some effects on their business. That has been a real problem for us now.”