A 5-star hotel in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, has opened its doors to emergency workers and stranded guests. Here's what it's like inside.
- A 5-star hotel has remained open to stranded guests, public health officials, and emergency workers in Wuhan, the quarantined city of 11 million people where the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak originated.
- Marco Polo Wuhan is one of only a handful of Wuhan hotels that have remained open, international news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
- Around 50 staff, including chefs, security guards, and managers, provide room service and packed meals to guests.
- To do so, they follow strict health and sanitation guidelines including checking guests' temperatures and wearing face masks while exercising, AFP reported.
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Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, has become a veritable ghost town. Streets are empty, trains and flights out of the city have been suspended, and major hotel brands such as Hilton and Wyndham have closed branches in area.
Marco Polo Wuhan, a 5-star hotel on the banks of the Yangtze River, is one of the few hotels still open.
Normally bustling with business and leisure travelers, its modern, marble-floored lobby now pulses with a different energy. For one, no one mans the front desk, AFP reported at the end of January. Instead, a team of 50 core staff quietly focus on taking care of guests stranded by the Wuhan quarantine as well as 20 officials from the Beijing Central Government's Inspection Unit and over 200 emergency medical workers from the China-Japan Friendship Hospital and Beijing Hospital, according to a February 11 press release by Marco Polo Hotels.
To date, COVID-19 has infected more than 75,000 people worldwide and killed over 2,100.
Chefs, security guards, and managers remain on-site
Lee Weng Wai, General Manager of Marco Polo Wuhan, gave up his evacuation seats back to his native Malaysia in order to usher the hotel through the coronavirus outbreak, according to the release.
Remaining staff on-site include chefs, security guards, and managers. Their duties include delivering room service and packed meals throughout the day to officials and guests.
The staff maintain "vigorous hygiene and sanitation standards," the release said. These measures include wearing face masks, observing "mandatory periods of rest," checking the temperature of guests who enter and exit the hotel, and requiring guests to fill out forms documenting their time, according to AFP.
To combat boredom and boost mental health, the staff are also required to exercise at 10 a.m. each morning.
"Daily exercises to balance our health and immunity, team briefings and updates allow us to maintain good morale and team spirit; we are in this together and through our commitment we will come out the other side stronger and more resilient than ever,'" Lee said.
Marco Polo Hotels, a brand of Wharf Hotels, has 13 locations across China, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.
Business Insider has reached out to the staff of Marco Polo Wuhan and will update this story as more information becomes available.
Are you currently staying or working at a hotel in Wuhan? Email this reporter at email@example.com.