Abia, hotel deny South African engineer had virus


Following the stampede at the Hotel du Golf, Aba, Abia State on Friday over the suspected case of a foreigner with the dreaded Coronavirus, the state government and the management of the hotel have categorically denied that a white South African lodging in the hotel is infected with the virus.

The Abia State Commissioner for Health and the management of the hotel said on Saturday that the young South African, an engineer installing some gadgets for Kilimanjaro Holdings, an offshoot of Shoprite Conglomerate, is not infected with the virus, but merely suffered from malaria attack which some misconstrued as Coronavirus.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, told newsmen in Umuahia that the South African went to a hospital in Aba and was treated of malaria, adding that he is now hale and hearty and had returned to work.

He pointed out that the laboratory result obtained from the South African shows that he suffered and was treated of malaria and not Coronavirus.

“Upon reading the report in the social media, myself, the epidemiologist and other health officials swung into action. We went to the hotel and on getting there, we discovered that it was a case of malaria attack and not anything near Coronavirus,” he said.

“We learnt that he developed some symptoms and decided to go to the hospital. On getting to the first hospital, there was no doctor and so his driver took him to Abia State Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Aba and he rejected the place.

“He (the driver) then drove him to another hospital where laboratory analysis showed that he had malaria. The man has been treated for malaria and now has a clean bill of health.

“The young man has stayed in the hotel since January 29th, 2020. He has not travelled to South Africa nor gone to any country or town since he lodged in the hotel.

“We equally learnt that he does not associate with anybody. His international passport also confirms what I have just said,” the Abia Commissioner of Health,” added.

Similarly, the management of Hotel du Golf told newsmen on Saturday that the white South African has not brought any visitor to his room since he lodged there on January 29, 2020 and wondered where he would have contracted the virus.

Represented by Mr Jonathan Ogwo, its Chief Security Officer, the hotel explained that the man rarely goes out of his hotel room since he lodged in the place, saying that apart from the swimming pool section which he rarely visits, the man most of the time, stays indoors.

“We saw his international passport and discovered that he even has a residential permit in Nigeria. He only suffered from cold; that was a result of malaria he had. Right now, he’s hale and hearty.

“We believe that the enemies of the hotel may have sponsored to smear our rising profile. The person who wrote the report has even apologised but the damage has been done already.

“Therefore, it is a calculated and mischievous attempt by some faceless individuals to bring the hotel down,” he asserted.

In the vein, the Head of Investigation, Nigeria Immigration Service in Abia State, Mr Kabiru Bello, said he went to the hotel on reading the report and saw that the man is neither an illegal immigrant nor has the virus as the write up alleged.

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