While the claim and counterclaim between the NCDC and the Akwa Ibom state government over the number and status of persons infected with the novel Coronavirus in the state still brew, unscrupulous elements aided by some business owners in Uyo metropolis still choose to flout the state government’s directive through the quarantine act by not submitting themselves for proper checkup and isolation to avoid the spread of the virus.
A source within a popular hotel located at Ewet Housing Estate Extension, Off Edet Akpan Avenue, that parades itself as a ‘Master’ in the hospitality business squealed to our reporter that despite the lockdown of the state borders, about 5 persons believed to have gained entry into the state and suspected to have the COVID-19 were allowed to lodge in the hotel with the full knowledge of the management.
The persons who supposedly journeyed back to the state from Lagos we learnt deposited more than the amount required for the best available room, arguably to avoid been exposed by the hotel management as required by law.
On Investigation, it was revealed that the hotel indeed knew little about the COVID-19 pandemic and public health safety with the unrestricted movement in and out of the hotel which also serves as a recharge card vendor within the area.
Guests who visit the hotel were also allowed to tour the rooms without proper assessment or protective gears with the only visible compliance to the quarantine regulation a bottle of hand sanitizer on the receptionist’s desk and the hand gloves worn by some of the staff.
Getting people to pay for rooms, however, seemed to be the main target of the management lamented our source. At about 11 am on Thursday, April 2, 2020, the gate of the hotel usually kept ajar was suddenly closed, the front door to the reception was also shut as everyone within the hotel suddenly became alert allegedly scared that their sins may have caught up with them after a visit by our reporter.
People seeking to buy recharge cards were also turned away as against the usual practice. The occupants we later learned checked out from the hotel to an unknown location the same day as they were afraid that they might have been exposed following the panic that occurred earlier in the hotel. When contacted, the manager of the hotel who identified herself as Miss Edidiong told our reporter that the hotel has been closed since last week with no guest lodged in.
According to her, operations were shut down in the hotel following the announcement of the lockdown in the state. An assertion which proved to be incorrect because as at the time of investigation at the hotel, some rooms were still occupied while rooms of guest who recently checked out were been cleaned by the cleaners in the hotel.