Miri hoteliers fear using their premises as quarantine centres could worsen pandemic


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 07 Apr 2020

An aerial view of Miri city centre where there are dozens of hotels and motels. - Photo by Stephen Then

MIRI:Several hotel managers have raised concerns about using hotels here as quarantine centres for incoming flight passengers.

A source told The Star these managers feared the central air-conditioning in their hotels could further spread Covid-19 infections.

"The central air-conditioning system circulates cool air from a central pumping mechanism to every guest room, to the administration offices, to the kitchens, to the ballrooms, to the meeting rooms, into the restaurants, lobby, into the lifts and every corridor and walkway.

"What if just one of these passengers really developed a full-blown Covid-19 infection, while staying in the hotel?

"Imagine the rate of virus infection that may spread through the central air-con system if that person started sneezing and coughing uncontrollably," the source said.

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee and the Miri Divisional Disaster Relief Committee Mire are trying to get 1,600 hotel rooms in Miri city to house inbound passengers during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Those involved from both committees will be video-conferencing on the issue Tuesday (April 7).

So far, six hotels in Miri city with a hundred rooms each have agreed to be turned into quarantine centres.

The State Disaster Relief Committee have said they are struggling to find enough accommodations to quarantine Sarawakians returning from other parts of Malaysia or overseas.

The state government has imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all returning Sarawakians.

Non-Sarawakians along with non-permanent residents are banned from entering the state until further notice.

Sarawak has registered 12 deaths due to Covid-19 so far with 273 positive cases.

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