Business has come to a standstill at the Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe following social media rumours that the hospitality facility was keeping a couple infected with coronavirus (Covid-19).
The hotel’s assistant general manager, Samuel Miao, said in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times in Lilongwe on Thursday that circulation of the fake news on the social media prompted guests to pack out while non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which were conducting their conferences at the hotel asked their delegates to leave immediately.
“Whoever spread that fake news has hurt our business. We have no guests and customers today,” complained Miao.
Miao wondered why people could make such speculations, saying the hotel stopped international bookings immediately the news about the outbreak was made known in December 2019.
“While other hotels accept international arrivals, we do not here. That is one of the measures we have put in place to prevent the spread of the virus into the country,” he said.
The hotel’s assistant Sales and Marketing Manager, Malumbo Kondowe, said the hotel has enhanced preventive mechanisms, including the introduction of handwashing with soap facilities at the entrance of the hotel.
Kondowe suspected that the rumours might have emanated from their competitors who are taking advantage of the fact that the hotel is being managed by Chinese whose country is the epicentre of the disease.
“While it’s a fact that we have Chinese managers and employees at this hotel, none of them has travelled to China recently. So, there is no need to panic because they have not been in contact with their relatives back home. They have been in Malawi for over two years withouth visiting China. So, why this discrimination?” he asked.
Midday yesterday, some people speculated that Golden Peacock Hotel was hosting a couple, which had symptoms of Covid-19.
In reaction, the Lilongwe District Health Office (DHO) sent a team of healthworkers to the matter.
The team discovered that there no grain of truth in the news.
“Please take note that the Chinese through their Embassy, which is working directly with our ministry, have been very cooperative in self isolation. In most cases, they’re not getting out of their rooms and food is provided through the windows for 14 days. Unfortunately, some individuals, when they see such, they make up stories,” the team said in a statement after the investigation.
The Ministry of Health and Population spokesperson, Joshua Malango, said it it unfortunate that people are spreading false news about the deadly disease.
Malango assured both local and international tourists that there is no case of Covid-19 in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :