[WATCH] Coronavirus: Bars, restaurants, gyms and każini among establishments to close

Fine for those who breach mandatory quarantine increased to €3,000 • Establishments such as bars and restaurants to close • Food delivery and takeaways unaffected by ban • Prime Minister appeals to all Maltese and residents abroad to return

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Bars, restaurants, gyms, village każini, gyms and other establishments where people gather socially will have to close as from midnight tomorrow as government ramps up restrictive measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The new measures were announced by Prime Minister Robert Abela on Monday afternoon. A full list of establishments affected by the ban will be released at a later stage when the legal notice is published.

Takeaway outlets and delivery services offered by restaurants are not affected by this ban.

Abela said the fine for those who breach mandatory quarantine will increase to €3,000 from €1,000 for every breach. From 376 quarantine inspections carried out by the police and public health officials so far, five people were fined after they were not found at home.

The Prime Minister said that a plan for a total lockdown is in place but this will only kick in, when and if the health authorities decide that this is the best option.

Government has so far escalated restrictive measures gradually. The latest decisions come on the day that Malta registered nine new cases, bringing the total to 30.

Abela said all measures being taken were intended to keep the situation under control.

Health Minister Chris Fearne said the authorities were aiming to have a "river of infections", which will be manageable, rather than a "tsunami" which will overwhelm the system.

Fearne urged parents to keep their children active at home and avoid visiting their grand parents.

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said that local wardens have been enlisted, alongside the army to deliver food and medicines to people who are in quarantine.