Opposition leader Adrian Delia has urged Maltese people not to panic after the first case of the COVID-19 coronavirus was confirmed on the island.
“There’s no cause for panic and alarm,” Delia said in an interview on NET this morning. “It’s important for society, government and Opposition to proceed according to the advice of the Superintendent of Public Health and not panic because that will bring about is own problems.”
He said the Opposition doesn’t have enough information to state whether or not the government is adequately prepared for a potential outbreak of the virus and promised to maintain a direct line of communication with Prime Minister Robert Abela over potential developments that could arise.
“We are proceeding with great caution. We’re asking questions and we’re being given information as we go along but I think we can propose certain things, such as a widespread education and information campaign over all the media that reaches everyone in society. Information is the most important thing; we must proceed according to correct information and take action seriously and in an informed manner.”
Malta confirmed its first COVID-19 case this morning, a 12-year-old Italian girl who lives on the island. She is believed to have contracted the virus during a recent family holiday to Trentino, Northern Italy, where several cases of the virus have been reported.
Health Minister Chris Fearne said the virus is being contained, in no small part because the patient and her family had followed the Health Department’s advice for all people returning from countries heavily impacted by the coronavirus to self-quarantine themselves for 15 days.
A new helpline 111 has also been launched, which will be manned by doctors around the clock, and details about a new isolated testing hub for people who fear they could have contracted the coronavirus will be announced early next week.