Mater Dei Hospital suspends visiting hours as it ramps up coronavirus prevention measures

Malta's only general hospital has suspended visiting hours to protect patients and staff • Policy does not apply when visiting children

Screening of visitors at Mater Dei Hospital has been happening since March but now the hospital has suspended visiting hours
Screening of visitors at Mater Dei Hospital has been happening since March but now the hospital has suspended visiting hours

Visitors will no longer be allowed to see patients at Mater Dei Hospital as the the facility ramps up prevention measures to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

The hospital said in a Facebook post on Wednesday night that it was temporarily suspending visiting hours as part of its Covid-19 prevention and control measures.

Soon after the first cases of Covid-19 were registered in Malta at the start of March, Mater Dei had restricted visiting hours. But now the hospital has stopped visiting hours outright.

"These restrictions may be difficult for patients and their loved ones, but Mater Dei Hospital is taking these necessary steps to protect patients and staff. This policy is temporary and is being done to safeguard the health of our patients," the hospital said.

It specified that the policy does not apply when visiting children and in other "extraordinary situations". Nursing staff will advise relatives accordingly.

The decision comes after the total number of coronavirus cases in Malta reached 299, including one patient who died on Wednesday evening.

In some of the cases that tested positive for Covid-19, the people had no symptoms, which is a worrying factor for public health officials.

One of the new cases announced on Wednesday was that of a one-month-old baby who contracted the infection from hospital with the Public Health Superintendent saying this may have come from an asymptomatic relative or staff member.

Similarly, the elderly woman who died was confined to her bed and contracted the infection through contact with relatives or staff members, who may have not known they have the virus.

The restriction on visiting hours at Mater Dei may be a direct result of these instances.

 

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