Stricter supervision needed over hotels designated for quarantine: experts

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/31 20:10:14

Epidemic control staff disinfect an international arrival on Monday night in the Pudong district of Shanghai. The city has established at least 18 quarantine centers for international arrivals' medical observation. Twenty imported COVID-19 cases have been reported in the city. Photo: cnsphoto

Netizens and experts have urged local governments to carry out strict supervision and investigation of some hotels designated as isolation sites, after some returnees revealed and complained about problems such as exorbitant fees and poor services. 

Some netizens expressed their confusion and anger over the high price of hotels used as isolation sites, saying there should be an open charging standard based on what guests can afford. 

The number of complaints has risen since mid-February, when a designated hotel for isolation in Jingbian county, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, was accused of over-charging. A couple who returned from Wuhan was charged over 6,000 yuan ($847) after their 14-day isolation, averaging about 220 yuan per person a day, which is much higher than the ordinary price. The Party Chief of the county later apologized and asked the hotel to halve the fees.

"Combating coronavirus is not the time to earn money. That's shameless," said a netizen on Twitter-like Weibo. 

Some netizens from East China's Qingdao, Shandong Province, revealed that the price for a room could cost up to about 600 yuan ($85) per day. However, this is not the only aspect that needs to be supervised. A student who returned to Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi Province, on March 24, complained to media that the sanitary conditions and services of the designated hotel where she was isolated were awful. 

"There was a strong smell of smoke in the room, the white quilts turned brown, some people had allergies after using them, and the kettle was rusty," the student said to Pear Video on Monday. 

There were also reports of some hotels providing mouldy food and even asking for a 10,000-yuan deposit before allowing guests to check in to a dirty and cold room with a high price.  

Mao Shoulong, a professor of public administration at the Renmin University of China, told Global Times that some local governments should be fully aware of their duty of serving the people and also the result of a poor performance during epidemic prevention. 

Although business was understandably bad during the coronavirus epidemic, Mao believes that the government will not let hotels lose money as isolation sites while trying to negotiate a reasonable price for returnees. 

This profit-driven action has damaged the rights and interests of those under quarantine, and also tarnished the local government, said Mao, noting that people under quarantine should keep the evidence and report the hotels' improper actions to the government or media. 

People have varying tolerance of sanitary conditions and different economic levels, and the local government should guarantee decent treatment through strict management or even punishment of some designated hotels, Mao said. 

Most Chinese cities have required all arrivals from abroad to undergo a 14-day self-paid isolation at designated hotels, including megacities like Beijing and Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. 

Posted in: SOCIETY

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