[WATCH] Coronavirus: Nine new cases and first local transmissions recorded

Three healthcare workers have tested positive after contracting the virus from other healthcare workers who returned from abroad

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

Malta’s Covid-19 cases have risen to 30 with nine new cases being recorded overnight, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said on Monday.

Three of the cases are local transmission after people who came from holidays abroad infected co-workers.

This is the first time that local transmission of the coronavirus has been recorded.

The three local transmissions are healthcare professionals, who contracted the virus from healthcare workers who tested positive after returning from holiday.

The local transmissions were detected through the contact tracing being carried out for individuals who would have tested positive.

All patients are stable and doing fine. Gauci said the patients are being kept in isolation at Mater Dei Hospital but they could have easily remained in quarantine at home.

All people who may have come into contact with them are being placed in quarantine.

The healthcare workers are a 36-year-old man, a 23-year-old woman and another, whose age was not specified, who may have had two possible sources of contamination.

The imported cases are of a 56-year-old Maltese woman who returned from the UK, a 34-year-old Maltese man who was on holiday in Barcellona with another person who had tested positive, a 15-year-old Spanish boy who was stopped at the airport with a group of friends, who are now in quarantine, a 49-year-old Italian woman who lives in Malta and whose husband returned from Rome, a 39-year-old man from the UK who lives in Malta and a 19-year-old Maltese teenager who was with the same group that returned from Dublin and who tested positive in previous days.

Asked whether Mater Dei Hospital is compromised as a result of the number of healthcare workers who have tested positive, Gauci ruled out that suggestion. "No way is Mater Dei compromised... healthcare workers are like other people and these were on holiday before the travel restrictions started being introduced," she said.

Asked about lorry drivers who bring over merchandise from Italy, Gauci said there were some instances when trucks were placed on the catamaran in Sicily and picked up in Malta by Maltese drivers, in which case no quarantine is necessary. However, in those cases where the driver has to remain with the vehicle and enters Malta, the quarantine rules apply.

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