Occupancy rates at quarantine hotels has dropped amid an increase in the number of such facilities, hotel operators said on Monday.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has announced that 20,000 additional hotel rooms would be reserved for quarantine to increase capacity.
However, as of Sunday, the average occupancy rate at quarantine hotels had dropped to 39 percent from 59.7 percent on May 19, when the government raised the nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 3.
“We feel like we have been swindled by the government in being asked to convert to quarantine hotels,” one hotelier said.
The situation was likely caused by a relaxation in home quarantine rules allowing one person per room, instead of one person per household, and an entry ban on foreign nationals without a valid resident certificate, a source at the ministry said.
Taiwanese returning from abroad have also been unwilling to stay at the more expensive quarantine hotels, the source said.
There were about 18,000 rooms at quarantine hotels after the Lunar New Year holiday, the source added.
Occupancy fell after a community outbreak on May 10, the source said, adding that it had rebounded to 59.7 percent by May 19, when it fell again with the announcement of the level 3 alert.
Despite the decline, the ministry continued with its plan to add 20,000 quarantine hotel rooms, which brought occupancy rates to new lows, the source said.
“In Taipei, occupancy was already less than 20 percent. When they said they would add 20,000 rooms, everyone thought it was ridiculous,” New Taipei City Hotel Association chairwoman Tseng Mei-chuan (曾美絹) said.
Quarantine hotels generated most of their income from guests arriving from abroad, but now that the border is closed, they have lost that income stream, she said.
Taiwanese living abroad are reluctant to return home given the outbreak, Tseng added.
Hanns House — a quarantine hotel in Taipei’s upscale Xinyi District (信義) — said that although the number of Taiwanese undergoing quarantine has increased, the majority of them stay at central quarantine facilities, with very few choosing the more expensive quarantine hotels.
Check Inn — a quarantine hotel in Taipei’s Zhongshan District (中山) — said its close proximity to an MRT station had previously meant it was at 90 percent or fully booked at all times.
However, bookings for this month have fallen to 40 percent, it said.
“The government is having trouble keeping up with the speed of the outbreak,” the hotel said, citing a worker who had been in close contact with an infected person, but did not receive a notice to undergo quarantine and receive a government-paid COVID-19 test.
“The worker came to us on their own and said they should quarantine. The experience has caused concern among employees,” it said.
PAST CATCHING UP: Raphael Lin was last year convicted of intimidating his girlfriend at the time, and in 2015 allegedly confined his parents and assaulted his mother Doctoral student and media commentator Raphael Lin (林秉樞) is in detention and has had his communication rights limited after he was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly subjecting Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) to two days of violence in a hotel room, the New Taipei District Court said yesterday. The New Taipei City Prosecutors’ Office had filed a request to detain Lin — who was Kao’s boyfriend at the time of the incident — with the court approving the request early yesterday. The prosecutors’ office said that it is likely to charge Lin with seven offenses: assault causing bodily harm, violating
NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom has taken to social media to urge Jeremy Lin (林書豪) to “stand with Taiwan” and stop taking “dirty Chinese Communist Party money.” “Haven’t you had enough of that Dirty Chinese Communist Party money feeding you to stay silent?” Freedom wrote on Facebook and Twitter on Sunday. The 29-year-old Boston Celtics center, who took a new surname when he became a US citizen on Monday last week, urged Lin: “Stand with Taiwan! Stop bowing to money & the Dictatorship.” Lin, a US citizen of Taiwanese descent who last year obtained a Taiwanese passport, has not responded to Freedom. Lin is
A COVID-19 vaccine trial carried out in Taiwan has found that a combination of the AstraZeneca and the locally developed Medigen vaccines is more effective than two doses of AstraZeneca, the research team said on Saturday. The trial, which was initiated by Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, examined 100 people aged 22 to 62 divided into two groups: One group was vaccinated with two AstraZeneca doses, while the other received a first dose of AstraZeneca and a second dose of Medigen, team leader Chen Chih-jung (陳志榮) said. The geometric mean titers (GMTs) of neutralizing antibodies in the mix-and-match group after 10 days were
Toads are a symbol of prosperity and good fortune in Taiwan, but the unexpected discovery of an invasive species has officials and environmentalists scrambling to contain their spread. With flashlights in hand and shielded by protective gloves, dozens of volunteers from the Taiwan Amphibian Conservation Society worked through the night searching rice fields and vegetable plots for their quarry — the cane toad. There should be no reason for these large and highly toxic amphibians to exist in Caotun (草屯), a township in the foothills of the central mountain range. Cane toads are indigenous to South and Central America, and while they have