10 hotels in Songjiang clean their air-conditioning systems after failing city inspections

Ten hotels in Songjiang District that failed an official inspection of their air-conditioning systems in August have rectified their problems by last month.

Ten hotels in Songjiang District that failed an official inspection of their air-conditioning systems in August have rectified their problems by last month, said the district's commission of health and family planning.

Eight of the hotels had failed the inspection mainly because their air-conditioning systems had excessive amounts of bacteria. An excessive amount of legionella pneumophila, a pathogenic group of bacteria that causes pneumonia and respiratory failure, was found in the cooling water of the air-conditioning system at Shanghai Songjiang Vienna Classic Hotel.

The inspections, conducted by the district authority, were sent to Shanghai's commission of health and family planning.

Of the 130 hotels across the city that authorities inspected, 25 failed to meet the standards. 

The weather could have influenced the results of the inspection in summer, said Zhang Ying, director of Songjiang District’s health and sanitation supervision institute. “Bacterium are more likely to grow in warm weather,” said Zhang, but adding that the weather should not be the reason for the hotels to neglect their responsibility.

Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental Hotel is one of the hotels that failed the inspection. Wang Tiantian, the hotel's public relations manager, said: “We immediately took action to fix the problem. It set off an alarm bell for us, we will be more careful with the hotel’s sanitation.”

According to state regulations, hotels with central air-conditioning system should clean it at least once a year. "Some hotels may have cleaned their air-conditioning system at the beginning of the year,” said Zhang. “When the inspection took place, their air-conditioning system was dirty again.”

Only one hotel in Songjiang District had not cleaned its air-conditioning system as mandated by state regulations. It was fined and had to rectify the problem, said Wu Dan, director of the district's commission of health and family planning. 

“We would advise the hotels to clean their air-conditioning more frequently to improve the maintenance,” said Zhang. “They should pay more attention to such problems and hire cleaning crews that are more professional.”

Songjiang District officials said they would work harder to inspect hotels, improve their supervision, and tighten penalties. 

Wu said the district authority would begin a series of seminars to raise hotels' awareness of health and cleanliness.

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