Malta to start testing some passengers arriving from high-risk countries

Passengers arriving from countries or cities deemed high-risk will be required to either present a certificate proving a negative result in the last 48 hours or undergo a swab test

Health Minister Chris Fearne
Health Minister Chris Fearne

Passengers arriving from countries and or cities considered to be high-risk COVID-19 areas will have to present a certificate stating that in the last 48 they tested negative for the virus. 

The announcement was by Health Minister Chris Fearne during an interview with TVM. Fearne said that those that did not present a certificate would have to undergo a swab test and that if they refused they would be placed in quarantine.

The new regulations will come into effect in the coming days.

Fearne said that this new swab test would produce results in just two hours, rather than the standard six hours. He added that the system had already been introduced in multiple European countries last week; and that Malta would also be at the forefront by introducing it.

On Wednesday 49 cases of COVID-19 were registered, bringing the total number of active cases to 486. Despite the sudden spike, Fearne insisted that the situation was under control. He said the number of those infected was substantial but not alarming.  

Fearne said that situation was still under control because bulk testing was being carried out. He highlighted that 2,200 swab tests had been conducted over the last 24 hours, a record amount.

Previously the Health Ministry warned against misinformation and rumours of inflated numbers. The reference was to strong rumours that started doing the rounds on Wednesday morning that Malta had recorded more than 70 cases overnight. 

READ MORE: 49 new COVID-19 cases, six linked to Mount Carmel Hospital

However, Fearne acknowledged that the recent spike due to mass events had put more pressure on the health system; and because of this, there was an increased demand in human resources.     

In the coming days, a legal notice stipulating the new restrictions introduced recently will be published. He said that since the measures were introduced last week some have tried to find loopholes, and the amendments were aimed at stamping those out.

Regarding schools, Fearne said the government still intended to open schools towards the end of September. He added that in the coming days he would be meeting with Education Minister Owen Bonnici as well as other Health and Education Ministers across the EU to share ideas about the best ways to protect children, teachers and the community.

READ ALSO: Abela warns of educational catastrophe if schools do not reopen, safety protocols being drafted

More in National