The government has shut two Nairobi hotels indefinitely in the wake of a cholera outbreak, which sources say, is at crisis levels. Reports from some informal settlements in the city indicate that tens of people have succumbed to cholera since the outbreak of the disease was first announced in May.
Health Cabinet secretary Cleopa Mailu yesterday said Jacaranda and San Valencia hotels had been shut as the ministry kicked off a major crackdown on food-handling facilities. More hotels, markets and individual food sellers are being targeted by the government in the fresh move meant to curb spread of the disease to other parts of the city.
“We have already closed down Jacaranda and San Valencia hotels in the crackdown intended to reduce suspected sources of cholera. We will continue to do so until we are certain contamination is minimised,” he said.
However, Jacaranda Hotel group sales manager Liz Tapawa in a statement last evening denied claims the facility had been closed indefinitely and assured clients it was operating as normal.
“We would like to categorically state that no guests of Jacaranda hotel have been affected or reported any cholera-related symptoms,” she said.
She added that public health officials from the Nairobi County and Ministry of Health have always inspected the facility to ensure the food prepared and served by the hotel is of the highest standards and accused the ministry of relying on “information sourced from their competitors without verification”.
The CS said the two hotels will not be allowed to operate until their staff are certified to be free of cholera. He was accompanied by Principal Secretary Julius Korir, Director of Medical Services, Jackson Kioko and KNH Chief Executive Officer Lilly Koros. “We have directed that all food handlers, an estimated 500,000 in the city, be tested after every 21 days.
We are asking proprietors of these facilities to do so without delay in order to be allowed to operate,” said Mailu at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) after touring the facility.
The hospital is currently hosting more than 100 cases with cholera symptoms with the management saying 67 of them have tested positive of the hygiene-related disease. Already four patients have been reported dead of cholera.