Health Ministry expands country watch list for coronavirus testing

Testing for coronavirus has been extended to anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness after visiting countries affected by the outbreak

Testing for coronavirus has been extended to anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness after visiting countries affected by the outbreak. 

In a statement on Monday evening, the Health Ministry said that surveillance and containment measures for the Coronavirus were continuously being strengthened. 

Testing will be performed on patients who are suffering from acute respiratory tract infection with sudden onset of coughing, fever or shortness of breath and who have been in countries with outbreaks of the virus in the last 14 days.

On Monday the EU’s disease prevention agency upgraded its risk assessment for the coronavirus in Europe from "moderate to high".

Countries on the watch list:

Western Pacific region:

  • China, including Hong Kong
  • Republic of Korea
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • Malaysia
  • Vietnam

Europe:

  • Italy
  • France
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • The United Kingdom
  • Norway
  • Croatia
  • Netherlands
  • San Marino

South-East Asia:

  • Thailand

Eastern Mediterranean:

  • Iran
  • United Arab Emirates

Region of the Americas:

  • Canada
  • United States of America

The ministry said that people with these symptoms who have returned from the aforementioned countries within the last 14 days should call their doctors or the COVID-19 helpline on 21324086. The ministry highlighted that people should refrain from visiting doctors’ clinics or health centres.

Self-quarantine is also recommended for those courtiers and regions where the risk of transmission is still high.

High-risk transmission countries:    

  1. The northern part of Italy - Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia Romagna
  2. China, including Hong Kong
  3. Singapore
  4. Japan
  5. Iran
  6. South Korea

What precautions should be taken?

Clean: Clean hands often by washing with soap and water or using alcohol hand rub.

Contain: Contain germs by staying at home if unwell; do not go to work or school until one is better. Do not visit patients in the hospital if you are sick.

Cover: Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze into bare hands.  Do not leave tissues running around

Do not sneeze or cough into your hands as you may contaminate objects or people that you touch.

For more information, the general public can call the COVID-19 helpline on 21324086 or visit the website covid19.gov.mt.

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