There was panic at a popular hotel in Arua town on Wednesday when it emerged that a Chinese national had checked in to isolate himself following his return from China.
The Chinese national, whose identity has been withheld and works with Chinese International Construction Company (CICO), checked in at the hotel on Tuesday.
According to information obtained by this reporter, shortly after his arrival into the country from China where he had travelled for leave, the Chinese national called up the company driver to pick him up from Entebbe International Airport.
However, when the Chinese national arrived at their company offices in Euata village in Arua, his colleagues kept a distance and asked him to find someplace where he could isolate himself fearing that he could be infected with the coronavirus.
He asked the driver to take him to a hotel in Arua town where he checked in a self-contained room by some workers who didn’t know that he had just returned from China.
The workers only discovered that their Chinese guest is in isolation when his colleagues sent him food and protective gear.
This prompted the hotel workers to alert security, who in turn alerted the District Health Officer to assess the situation.
Dr Paul Bishop Drileba, the Arua District Health Officer, who led a team of health officers to the room of the Chinese national confirmed that the Chinese national was in self-quarantine.
“We were informed by his colleagues and we have been aware of his coming. Yesterday, we met him physically at the hotel, talked to him and agreed with him to self-quarantine until March 24, when we shall be able to clear him,” he said.
Dr Drileba said they had asked the Chinese national to keep in his room for 14 days, saying they will access his health status again to clear him.
A staff at the hotel who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity, said the presence of the Chinese national triggered panic among staff and guests at the hotel.
She explained that management and staff want the Chinese national to leave the hotel.
Arua Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Ms Alice Akello, said they are considering to transfer the Chinese national to another place due to pressure from the hotel.
“The hotel owner feared that his business would be shunned by the people and requested us to transfer this Chinese national, we are still discussing that,” she said.
Coronavirus, which broke out in China in December last year, spreads through contact with an infected person.