Coronavirus: Fourth case developed symptoms week after return to Malta

The 49-year-old foreign national returned to Malta from Italy on 27 February and developed symptoms on 5 March

Malta has registered its fourth case of coronavirus
Malta has registered its fourth case of coronavirus

Malta has registered its fourth case of coronavirus with the patient being a man who holidayed in the north of Italy.

The man is a 49-year-old foreign national who lives in Malta. He visited Treviso on 23 February and returned to Malta on 27 February. 

The man developed a fever and other symptoms on 5 March. However, the Superintendence of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, said that for two days since his arrival, the man did not self-quarantine.

"The man developed symptoms on 5 March but did not go to work before that," Gauci said. 

Asked whether the man could have infected others before the symptoms emerged, Gauci said that, being a new virus, pre-symptom contagiousness is still being tested, but there were cases where the infection was spread even when the coughing and sneezing symptoms emerged.

The man is in good condition, Gauci said, adding that two individuals, wife and child, who share a residence with the man are in mandatory quarantine even though they have tested negative.  

The Health Authorities, she confirmed, have started a contact tracing operation, where even individuals who were on the same flight as the man have been reached and are being tested.

Three members of the same family were last week the first cases to register in Malta. They also had travelled to north Italy in the previous days.

“The government appeals for calm and responsibility because there is no scope for alarm or panic,” the ministry said.

Over 500 precautionary swabs have resulted in the negative. 

The national Covid-19 helpline is 111 and the government has published an information website.