Coronavirus: Parents association appeals for strict adherence to government directives

MAPSSS urges all concerned to not succumb to panic and to avoid arbitrary decisions based on misinformation

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The Maltese Association of Parents of State Schools Students (MAPSSS) has appealed for a strict adherence to the education and health ministries' directives on the coronavirus epidemic. 

"Children who have visited China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Iran and the regions of Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto in north Italy should auto-quarantine for 14 days," the association said in a statement on Friday.

A circular issued by the ministries instructed staff and students who visited the countries hit by the spread of infection to stay at home. 

"If they develop symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, they need to phone the Disease Prevention and Control Unit (IDCU) within the Superintendence of Public Health and the unit will guide them accordingly," the ministries said. They added that individuals who need help or clarification should phone their family doctor.

Don't succumb to panic

The Parents Association urged for precautionary vigilance but for all stakeholders not to give in to blind panic.

"MAPSSS urges all those concerned not to succumb to panic and asks for the avoidance of any arbitrary actions based on misinformation," the statement read.

During the week, new Facebook groups were created, claiming to be updating the public on the novel coronavirus. However, posts evinced a bunker mentality as group members posted pictures of their experiences at major supermarkets, claiming to encounter empty shelves and trolleys stockpiled with foodstuffs and sanitary products. 

"Furthermore, just like in any other situation, parents are to keep children who are sick, at home. On the other hand, schools are to ensure that there is constant water supply and soap in every sanitary facility in order to prevent the spread of any kind of infection," MAPSSS said. 

The association said that it would continue to keep parents adjourned with directions given by the ministries.