Five new cases of coronavirus, no local transmission, patients are now up to 18

There are six new cases of coronavirus patients in Malta since Friday evening, bringing the total number of cases in Malta to 18.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

There are six new cases of coronavirus patients in Malta since Friday evening, the public health superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci has announced, bringing the total number of cases in Malta to 18.

Five new cases were reported on Saturday following that of a 19-year-old student who flew in from Brussels. Prof. Gauci said her family and other passengers on the same flight had tested negative for coronavirus.

The new cases are that of a Russian national who arrived in Malta on 4 March, reporting symptoms on 11 March. He was reported to be in a good state of health. He resulted positive on Friday 13 March. A person who lives with him is in quarantine. Contract-tracing of people working in the same private company as the Russian national has started.

Another Maltese national, 33, flew in from Dublin to Malta on 10 March; another Maltese national arrived from Barcelona on 9 March, and instantly went into self-quarantine upon arrival, with Prof. Gauci remarking on the correct use of self-quarantine to prevent such imported cases.

Prof. Gauci said  the results so far are the result of effective quarantine measures. Malta has had a very high rate of swabbing in terms of European counterparts. “It is very important to catch these cases as early as possible, for contact tracing, and to delay as much as possible any form of local contagion.”

At Mater Dei Hospital, people reporting respiratory problems are being swabbed – 591 swabs have resulted negative. All cases so far have been imported from abroad. “We are following the situation, case by case, cases abroad and in Malta, to take the best measures possible,” Prof. Gauci said.

Since yesterday, Friday 13 March, inspectors have been carrying out random checks on quarantined people. Data from passenger records is being used.

Prof. Gauci also said all cases so far are in good clinical state. After some days, they will be re-testing the cases to see whether they still test positive or negative for coronavirus. “We have carried out strong surveillance. We are actively looking for cases, being imported from abroad. With flights now curtailed, the cases from abroad will probably start decreasing.

“We have carried out mandatory quarantine for everyone who came in from abroad. There are certain places where people have travelled to more frequently, such as Brussels before the closure of the European Commission. With measures to reduced mass gatherings, church masses, and school closures, we are a step ahead of what we fear might happen.”