A hotel in this southern port city is a key part of China’s largely unreported measures to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from reaching its shores and spreading.
The Hotel Canton is like many others in Guangzhou, bustling with business conferences as well as Chinese and international customers. But what few know is that it is also being used as a base for loose quarantine of recently arrived travelers from Ebola-hit countries in Africa.
Sources tell VOA that more than 90 people from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are currently staying at the hotel. Along with public security officers and doctors, they occupy up to five floors of the state-owned business.
All of those being monitored for the virus stay at the hotel free of charge and can freely travel in the city in exchange for carrying a GPS-equipped mobile phone and submitting to twice-daily health checks.
Ebola hard landing
Thousands of Africans travel to China every month and, according to official statistics, around 150 travelers from Ebola-hit countries arrive in Guangzhou each day. The city has the largest community of Africans in Asia.
For most West Africans, the full extent of China’s Ebola prevention measures do not become clear until after their plane touches down.
Upon arrival, travelers from Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are asked to disembark from the plane first and submit to a screening from health officials, who check their temperature and record their contact information.
Each person receives a mobile phone with GPS tracking. Each is told to submit to medical supervision for 21 days, recording body temperature both evening and night.
Africans who have residency in China can return to their homes. But those who are merely visiting say they were not given any instructions on where to stay. Some say they wandered the city for hours to try to find a hotel that would take them before learning that the Hotel Canton was the only option. [KEEP READING HERE]