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Onyeama: Hotels in Lagos, Abuja prefer being empty than to be used for quarantine

Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, says many hotels in Lagos and Abuja prefer being empty than to be used as quarantine centres for Nigerian returning from overseas.
At the briefing of the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja on Tuesday, the minister said the federal government would have preferred to start evacuating Nigerians abroad, but certain challenges that have made the process difficult.

He said one of the challenges is finding quarantine centres approved by medical authorities to monitor the evacuees.

“We did not want a situation where people from outside coming in bring more positive cases and exacerbate what is already becoming the big challenge here,” he said.
“Most of the hotels do not want to get into a situation of being used as quarantine centres, notwithstanding the fact that they are all empty; but they, for some reason, seem to prefer to remain empty than to be places of quarantine.”

He said the ministry of foreign affairs and the Lagos state government have been trying to find hotels to volunteer to accommodate those coming into Lagos.

“They (Lagos state government) have also been facing the same major challenge in Lagos of finding people who, I mean, it’s all private enterprises willing to give up their hotels for this purpose,” he said.

“We have been able now to identify some hotels here in Abuja and also in Lagos.”
Onyeama said although some hotels have offered their services, there were discussions on the prices for the hotel accommodation in Lagos and Abuja.
“These hotels want to be paid way in advance. Arrangement is that the passengers (Nigerian evacuees) will have to pay for them, and so that mechanism is something that we’ll have to work out,” he added.
Onyeama also said Nigerians in Dubai who were meant to be evacuated last week, will arrive the country on May 4, 2020.

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