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A Coalition of Concerned Heipang Health Professionals, Development Associations and Youth Groups have raised an alarm over the conversion of a popular hotel located within residential area in the community into a quarantine centre for COVID-19, insisting that the action is in clear disregard to WHO guidelines for establishment of such a facility.

This much was disclosed on Saturday, 18th April, 2020 by Da David Bot who delivered a communique on behalf of the Coalition during a seminar organized by health professionals to enlighten youth leaders in the community on risk exposure and management as well as safety measures against COVID-19 pandemic

“We throw our weight behind efforts by the federal and plateau state governments geared towards winning the battle against this pandemic. We are however concerned that a quarantine centre was established in our community weeks ago without our knowledge, in view of the inherent risk the facility poses to residents of the area. This is especially so as the centre is within residential area, infact sharing a fence with a residential home”, the communique read

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Da Bot added that WHO guidelines for establishing such a facility clearly indicates amongst others that a quarantine centre should be sited in: (a) a location at the outskirt of the town and must be far from residential homes and crowded places; (b) close to a tertiary hospital for easy commuting of quarantine clients who might develop symptoms within the period. As a community, we thus wonder why government disregarded these guidelines in view of the highly contagious nature of COVID-19.

Speaking further, Da Bot said the centre lacks biomedical waste management infrastructure and its internal operations leave much to be desired with regards to public/community health.

“we were shocked to meet a lady of about 20 years carrying waste and disposable plates which quarantine subjects have used within the compound in a mesh basket as against leak-proof red, black or yellow containers as stipulated by WHO. More disturbing was the fact that the lady was not kitted in any personal protective equipment (PPE) and waste is disposed in an open space within the hotel were rats, lizards, birds and scavenger dog can easily access

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Our concern is that such innocent and untrained workers in the hotel live with us in the community and are thus a major threat to us. International best practices require that these hotel stewards should have been withdrawn once the hotel was leased out for this purpose and professionals engaged

“we wonder why the hotel in use has also not been conspicuously marked with safety signage at the entrance and around the perimeter fencing to keep unsuspecting residents and customers of the hotel at bay”.

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As a community, we are alarmed at this development as our lives are in serious danger, hence the call for caution considering the daily rise in confirmed cases and deaths due to COVID 19, also as our kids roam around our community and glean objects around in innocence

“We thus appeal to the Plateau state government to consider the relocation of the centre to a safer location like the Inland Container Depot within the Heipang community as it is distal to residential area or another place that meets WHO guidelines” the communique read

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