[WATCH] Coronavirus: Mandatory quarantine extended to all visitors entering Malta

14-day mandatory Covid-19 quarantine has been extended to all people travelling to Malta, regardless of the country they came from, Prime Minister Robert Abela announces

Robert Abela is expected to announce new measures to curb the spread of coronavirus
Robert Abela is expected to announce new measures to curb the spread of coronavirus

New measures:

  • 14-day mandatory quarantine extended to everyone entering Malta, regardless of the country they travel from
  • Helpline exclusively for use by people in quarantine can be reached on 21 411 411
  • Food delivery service made available for those in quarantine
  • Standing bus passengers won’t be allowed, only seated
  • Gozo Channel passengers to be scanned before boarding ships
  • Symptomatic people arriving at airport/sea port are being immediately isolated and swabbed
  • No need for panic buying or long supermarket queues - country’s foods supplies etc. will continue as normal
  • Measure to reduce number of people in supermarkets to be introduced
  • Some medical consultations will be carried out online, instead of patients going to health centres in person

The coronavirus mandatory quarantine has been extended to all visitors entering Malta, regardless of the country they travelled from, the Prime Minister has announced.

All those who enter Malta by air or sea will have to go straight to their home or hotel for a 14-day obligatory quarantine. Fines of €1,000 will be imposed for each day the quarantine is breached, with police carrying out spot-checks.

The new measure will start applying from today, Robert Abela said at a conference at Castille on Friday afternoon.

All travellers coming to Malta by air and sea are being scanned on arrival, and those found to have a fever are being subjected to swap tests at the airport or sea port. Those who test positive for Covid-19 are being taken directly to an isolation unit.

Travellers scanned on arrival, swab-tested if feverish and isolated if Covid-19 positive

Health Minister Fearne allayed fears that people could be arriving to Malta and subsequently using public transport or taxis and putting drivers and others at risk. Since people coming to the island are being scanned and swab-tested, and placed in isolation, anyone who has symptoms of the virus won't be using public transport after arriving.

Those who have no symptoms but could still be infected will not pose a threat to others if they use buses or taxis, since the risk of asymptomatic transmission is low and such people will be going straight into quarantine as per the new measures.

Abela said that while the government would not be imposing a complete travel ban, the new measures would effectively drastically limit the number of people visiting Malta, since tourists would not go on holiday only to have to spend two weeks in mandatory quarantine.

Not imposing a travel ban would also allow time for Maltese residents who are still stranded abroad to return to Malta.

Abela said that all Gozo Channel passengers at Ċirkewwa will from tonight be screened before boarding the ship.

Regarding panic buying, he said that there was no need for people to form queues at supermarkets, since Malta would not have a food supply issue. Discussions are ongoing for a policy to be implemented to limit the total number of shoppers in supermarkets at any one time.

Abela also said that children, who are currently staying home due to the closure of all schools, should not congregate in place such as playground. Doing so would negate the benefit of closing schools, he said.

Fearne said that those in quarantine could call a special helpline on 21 411 411 is they have queries. A food delivery service is being made available for quarantined people, although this should only be used if genuinely needed, he said

Online medical consultations, no standing bus passengers

Fearne said that, in a bid to lower the number of people at health centres at once, a system of online medical consultations is being developed. Certain services will be offered online, with patients not having to physically go to health centres. The service will be announced in coming days, and those who have appointments which will take place online will each be contacted individually.

The Prime Minister moreover said that standing bus passengers would not longer be allowed, and that all people on buses would have to be seated, with no new passengers allowed to board once seats are all taken.

Abela added that the low number of transmissions to date in Malta showed that the measures being taken were effective. He said that new measures would be announced as needed and recommended by the public health authorities.

The health authorities this morning said three people were diagnosed with coronavirus overnight, bringing the total to 12.