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Virus Watch

With over 300 people quarantined at Metropark Hotel in Hong Kong following reports of swine flu,Delhi’s five-star hotels are taking absolutely no chances.

Delhi hotels keep a close watch for signs of swine flu

With over 300 people quarantined at Metropark Hotel in Hong Kong following reports of swine flu,Delhi’s five-star hotels are taking absolutely no chances. “We have issued guidelines to our hotel staff to avoid crowded places and maintain hygiene,” says Aubrey Mullerworth,general manager,Metropolitan Hotel. Its kitchen has been transformed into a ‘safe zone’ for the past one week,with chefs wearing masks and surgical gloves at all times,apart from a protective hat. Even porters are wearing gloves while handling food and beverages.

Last week,they conducted a session for the staff,briefing them on the precautionary measures to be taken against swine flu. “This is a serious situation as WHO has declared the pandemic alert at Phase V. So we have to be careful of what we do,” adds Mullerworth. In addition,the hotel has framed a questionnaire for its guests.

The Shangri-La Hotel on Ashoka Road,which receives a steady stream of guests from the US and Europe,has also put together a ‘Swine influenza: self-declaration questionnaire’ which has queries regarding the whereabouts of guests over the past week. There are questions on respiratory infections and recent trips to Europe and the US . “We are also asking our guests about their duration of stay in India and where they plan to be while in Delhi,” says a hotel spokesperson.

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So far,not a single case of swine flu outbreak has been reported in India,and hotels,while taking precautions,are careful not to spread panic or inconvenience the guests. “We’re just keeping a close watch on guests and the staff. Besides that,everything is normal,” says SM Azmat,joint president,Jaypee Vasant Continental. The hotel dispensary has nevertheless increased its stock of gloves and masks.

The Le Meridien is also playing a wait-and-watch game. “If we get instructions from the government to discontinue serving pork,we will. Right now,we serve it,” says Akhil Mathur,director,marketing and communications. But all the Taj properties (Ambassador,Taj Mahal and Taj Palace) in Delhi have removed pork chops and spare ribs from their buffets.

First published on: 08-05-2009 at 00:28 IST
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