KATHMANDU, June 22: The hotel quarantines set by the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN) have remained underused amid the government’s decision to let abroad returnees be home quarantined.
Only 300 people have used hotel quarantine facilities in the Kathmandu Valley since the government started operating evacuation flights from different countries to bring stranded Nepalis home. “There are 60 hotels available in the Kathmandu Valley alone and only 18 have been used for quarantine facilities,” said Sajan Shakya, general secretary at HAN. “Though people have chosen hotels for mandatory quarantine, the government’s decision to let the returnees stay in home quarantine has disinterested them.”
According to HAN, there are 3,500 rooms available in the Kathmandu Valley, 1700 in Pokhara, 5,500 in Chitwan and 4,000 in Bhairahawa available for quarantine. “Even if they are using hotels, many have left after staying in for an average of two to three days,” he told Republica Online.
After the evacuated Nepalis land at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) they are taken to the holding centers and later are shifted to provincial quarantine facilities with an open option of home quarantine. Prior to this the government had made 14 days quarantine mandatory for people entering Nepal from abroad. According to Immigration Office, TIA, more than 4,500 Nepalis have been brought to Nepal through evacuation flights as of Sunday while the data maintained by Covid-19 Crisis Management Center (CCMC) states 2,742 have been shifted to provincial quarantine facilities across the country.
Shakya said that if a group of returnees wants to use the facility, they can choose the hotel, otherwise if an individual wants to use the facility, the person is allowed to choose the category only. HAN manages the accommodation for people willing to use hotel quarantines. Shakya said, “We have listed hotels in a queue format for safety purposes and to manage the load the rotation system has been applied while sending accommodating people.”
According to Shakya, tourist standard hotels have been used the most for the quarantine facility. “The government has not provided us with standard operation procedure (SOP) for the safe operation of our services which has created perplexity amongst the hotel operators,” Shakya complained, “And if people are going to use hotels for only a few days contrary to what the government had talked us through, it will be hard for us to recover operation cost.” Hotel operators have been providing the service as per the general guideline the government has set for the operation of services.
Meanwhile, hotel operators are hopeful that as the influx of people from abroad increases, the hotel quarantine facilities will be put to utmost use. “This is the first phase of repatriation and the government plans on bringing millions of Nepalis back so we are hopeful that our services will be useful,” he further added.
The government has listed out hotels across the Kathmandu Valley and other places that are available for quarantine service for migrant worker returnees that the government has started evacuating. The 4 star hotels are charging Rs 8,000 for single-bed room, Rs 5,500 per person for twin sharing room and 3 star hotels are charging Rs 6,000 for single bed room and Rs 5,000 per person for twin sharing room. Similarly, the rate for a single bed room in a 2 star or deluxe resort or standard hotel has been fixed at Rs 5,000 for a single-bed room and Rs 3,500 per person for twin sharing. People can book a single bed room in 1 star or standard resorts for Rs 4000 and if the room is shared, a person can pay Rs 2500. HAN has determined the rate of tourist standard single bed rooms as Rs 3,000 and the room can be shared by two people paying Rs 2,000 each.