Prime Minister Robert Abela said today that as from today anyone coming from abroad will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
Until today, the mandatory quarantine was restricted to people coming to Malta from a few countries – Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Switzerland, from where flights were suspended earlier this week.
Mandatory quarantine will now be extended to anyone coming from a foreign country, be they Maltese or foreigners, Abela said when addressing the media.
A €1,000 fine will be imposed on anyone breaking the rules. If the rule is breached every day, then the fine would climb to €14,000, Abela said. The priority is to safeguard public health.
The measure is extended to foreigners who work in Malta and return from any other country. If they are caught not obeying the quarantine, their work permit will be revoked and they will be deported.
Abela said that the 12 Coronavirus cases Malta has registered so far have all been imported. One of the patients has recovered and is set to be discharged, while the other 11 are in stable condition.
As from today, public transport service will be restricted to the number of passengers who can be seated. No standing passengers will be allowed, he said.
Abela said travelling abroad for pleasure is not recommended at this stage. People can go, but they should know that once they return, they will be required to stay in quarantine for 14 days.
He said that discussions are taking place to limit the number of people within the confines of a supermarket at any given time. It is pointless to have restrictions on public events and then have bpeople queuing up in big numbers, Abela said. There is no need for people to stock up as food and other necessities will continue to be available.
Abela said that schools have been closed for a reason, so as to reduce the risk of transmission. But it would defeat the purpose to have children meeting at playgrounds, for example, he said in reply to a question by The Malta Independent.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne spoke about the mandatory quarantine helpline 21411411 which those in quarantine can call in order to have supplies delivered to their homes.
He said this service as it should be used only by those who are under mandatory quarantine, and those who are or will be self-quarantining themselves.
The service is being provided thanks to three depots across Malta – one in the north, one in the centre and another in the south – where food is being collected and is then delivered to the quarantined individual within 24 hours.
Fearne also said that there are measures being taken to regulate the flow of people who are going to health centres.
He explained that they are developing a system of online medical consultations. This means that certain services will be provided online without the need to health centres. These services will be announced in the coming week and the people who will have their appointments transferred online will be informed.