Empty hotels eager to serve as quarantine facilities

Empty hotels eager to serve as quarantine facilities

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, right, visits Patra Hotel in Bangkok on Wednesday. The hotel offers a quarantine service for Thai returnees. (Government House photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, right, visits Patra Hotel in Bangkok on Wednesday. The hotel offers a quarantine service for Thai returnees. (Government House photo)

About 130 hotels with 16,000 rooms have offered to serve as quarantine centres for people returning to Thailand from abroad, for a payment - well in excess of the estimated 6,000 rooms needed, according to the Health Service Support Department.

Director-general Tares Krassanairawiwong said on Friday that his department was tasked with recruiting hotels to function as quarantine facilities for returnees, to help control the spread of coronavirus disease.

There had been a good response from hoteliers.

"Some 130 hotels with about 16,000 rooms offered to function as state quarantine facilities. Officials discussed the matter and estimated that we need around 6,000 rooms,"  Dr Tares said.

The government now had six hotels with some 1,200 rooms in Bangkok for use. Some hotels that made the offer did not meet the criteria, eg, lacking operating licences and isolated air-conditioning systems, having fewer than 100 rooms or having carpets, which collect germs, Dr Tares said.

Hoteliers sought different fees. Some based it on the number of occupants or the number of rooms used, and others would charge only for food, he said.

The Public Health Ministry would initially pay for the accommodation of returnees at hotels and the Defence Ministry would help sponsor it later, he said. In the future, there might be different classes of quarantine hotels for returnees who could afford to pay, he said.

"The returnees who are quarantined at such hotels are not patients. The hotels are places where Thai people who return on inbound flights are monitored," Dr Tares said.

They were not "hospitels" - hotels modified to function as hospitals for the treatment of patients with mild and stable coronavirus symptoms. The government had three hospitels, he said.


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