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Kolkata, India Hotels Swing into Action to Contain Swine Flu

The Economic Times, IndiaMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Aug. 14, 2009--KOLKATA, India -- With the number of swine flu cases in Kolkata and its outskirts at 19, city hotels are swinging into action. This being the sector that sees probably the maximum contact with foreigners and outsiders, the pandemic is a cause of concern. Naturally, hotel authorities are on high alert and are taking a host of precautionary measures that includes buying masks and going in for full-fledged medical briefings.

Oberoi Grand general manager Amitabh Rai told ET that the hotel was addressing this issue through multiple measures. "All personnel at the staff gate are wearing N95 masks, and we have had Sterilium (sanitising lotion) placed at vantage points. Any staff exhibiting flu-like symptoms are being told to go home and refrain from coming to work, till a doctor checks him/her out and necessary tests are carried out. We have even taken the additional precaution of keeping a first-floor wing empty just in case anybody is detected with swine flu and needs to be isolated. We are also carrying out massive communication drives including alerting vendors."

At The ITC Sonar Kolkata, N95 masks are available at the hotel while all receiving personnel are wearing surgical gloves, boots, shower caps and face masks. All perishables are sanitised prior to entry and in the receiving area, all baskets and trolleys are being washed and sanitised after each operation. Dispensers with Sterilium are available at entry/and exit points at the property for guests as well as employees.

"All pork, ham & bacon products ( Indian / imported), which are raw, semi-raw and semi-processed are not being used. Our chefs are visiting hotel suppliers directly to inspect and advise them on the levels of hygiene and sanitation to be maintained. Our F&B managers have also been well sensitised," said the hotel's official spokesperson.

Taj Hotels issued a statement saying: "At regional level, in all cities and resorts where our hotels are located, we are also in regular liaison with local health authorities. All employees are under direct instructions to immediately report any relevant symptoms. In any hotel where symptoms of the virus are suspected, it is our policy to give health checks to all hotel employees and offer our guests the opportunity to consult with the hotel management."

The Park, on Wednesday, held a formal briefing with medical experts who spoke to the employees on various precautionary issues. "We are immediately reporting cases where employees/guests are falling ill, and extra precautions are also being taken," said The Park spokesperson.

Some hotels however, are yet to launch into action mode though they are also now planning for the same. "So far, we were just keeping an eye out for people exhibiting swine flu-like symptoms. Now that things are getting serious, we will go in for extra precautions," said The Kenilworth Group managing director Raju Bharat.

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To see more of The Economic Times, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Copyright (c) 2009, The Economic Times, India

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