Airport border control officer fumes over handling of coronavirus student case

Norman Vella vents his anger and frustration over what he claims is the gross mishandling of a case involving a Spanish student who was exiting Malta and tested positive for Covid-19

A photo of the airport departures area showing the group of Spanish students who left yesterday (Photo: Norman Vella/Facebook)
A photo of the airport departures area showing the group of Spanish students who left yesterday (Photo: Norman Vella/Facebook)

Norman Vella has vented his anger and frustration over what he claims is the gross mishandling of a case involving a student diagnosed with coronavirus while exiting Malta.

The former TV presenter, who works as a border control officer at the airport, said that the student was initially tested for symptoms at Gate 8 in the departures area after he complained of being sick.

“I am angry because this gate was not closed and fumigated but allowed to operate normally. Just after the student and his friends were tested by the nurse, a couple walked into the same area to feed their baby,” Vella told MaltaToday.

He was on duty at the airport when the incident happened and witnessed it with his own eyes. Vella was contacted after posting his concerns on Facebook.

Vella said the student and his group were not taken to the airport clinic but to the prayer room.

“What frustrates me is that the people who were with this boy and who are still inside the prayer room as we speak were getting out into the corridors to charge their mobiles,” Vella said, adding that he expected the health authorities to get in touch with every airport worker who could have come in contact with this student.

“This student passed through security check, circulated in the shopping areas outside the departure gates and would have certainly come in contact with other people,” Vella said, adding his colleagues and he were worried.

On Monday, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci confirmed that a 15-year-old Spanish student was diagnosed with coronavirus and was being treated at Mater Dei Hospital. She added that others who were with the student have been placed in quarantine.

Vella has asked for all airport workers who came into contact with the Spanish student to be placed on paid quarantine.

“Tonight I am on duty and I’m not sure whether the same person at security who could have searched the boy will be the same to check me… everybody is worried,” Vella said, adding that he expected the unions to take up this case.

 

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