KATHMANDU, May 3: Eighteen employees of the five-star hotel, Hyatt Regency in Kathmandu, which has been providing services even under the prohibitory order, have contracted COVID-19.
Of 140 employees whose tests were carried out, 18 employees were tested positive for the COVID-19. The test reports of some employees are yet to come.
Sources at the hotel said the employees were most probably infected with the virus through workers from India who had come there for the wedding.
The source said that COVID-19 may have been transmitted from Indian workers who had come to prepare food and decorate the venue for the wedding a few days ago. The swab test was carried out after several employees showed corona-like symptoms.
Sources said that the wedding ceremony was attended by dozens of guests even though the government allowed the party to be held only in the presence of a limited number of people. The hotel continued booking for wedding ceremonies till Sunday.
According to sources, the wedding is being prepared for Monday as well. Over 100 participants are expected to attend the event.
Despite the administration's strict directive in Kathmandu, a huge crowd was still present at the ceremony, said an employee on duty at the ceremony. The employee did not contract the virus. COVID-19 has been detected among several staffers at the same time as physical distance was not maintained according to the health standards during the party.
Sources estimate that a large number of guests may have been infected during the ceremony. Local administration has enforced a rule to prohibit the presence of more than 15 persons in marriage and bratabandha during the prohibition period.
But sources claim that there has been a continuous marriage ceremony at the Hyatt premises. "The tradition of bringing workers and flower carts from India to decorate the party venue for the big event is still there," the source said. "It is believed that the infection was transmitted from the same Indian workers."
Currently, most of the hotel employees are on leave and even the security personnel are claimed to have been outsourced for the purpose. According to sources, the hotel has stopped calling 55 employees above 45 years of age. The hotel management has brought a voluntary leave package to grant leave to those who have not been called to work for a long time. Out of 55 people, 10 have left their jobs. Since they are not called to work, they have been receiving Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 a month.
The hotel management, on the other hand, has stated that the health protocols have been followed strictly and the ceremonies are not crowded as reported.