Health authorities expand grounds for coronavirus testing

Maltese residents returning from an increased number of countries will be subject to laboratory testing for the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19 if they show any symptoms, in light of updated recommendations issued by the Maltese health authorities.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said that the measures have been updated in line with the recommendations of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Laboratory testing will be performed on patients showing symptoms of an acute respiratory tract infection with sudden onset of cough, fever, or shortness of breath, and who have been in countries within which local transmission of Covid-19 has been reported in the previous 14 days.

At present, the countries and regions include the following:

Western Pacific Region

  • China (including Hong Kong)
  • Republic of Korea (South Korea)
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • Malaysia
  • Vietnam

European Region

  • Italy
  • France
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • The UK
  • Norway
  • Croatia
  • The Netherlands
  • San Marino

South East Asian Region

  • Thailand

Eastern Mediterranean Region

  • Iran
  • United Arab Emirates

Region of the Americas

  • Canada
  • United States of America

People showing these symptoms who have returned from these countries in the past 14 days are asked to call their doctor or the Covid-19 helpline on 2132 4086. They are advised to refrain from leaving the home to visit doctors’ clinics, health centres or the casualty department.

Self-quarantine recommendation remains unchanged

The recommendation for self-quarantine remains for countries and regions with a high sustained transmission of Covid-19, with the list of regions and countries remaining unchanged. The list is as follows.

  • Northern part of Italy (regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna)
  • China (including Hong Kong)
  • Singapore
  • Japan
  • Iran
  • South Korea

The health authorities emphasised that the public should follow the “three Cs” (Clean-Contain-Cover) precaution for the prevention of respiratory infection/

  • Clean: Clean hands often by washing with soap and water or using alcohol hand rub.
  • Contain: Contain germs by staying at home if unwell; do not go to work or school until one is better. Do not visit patients in hospital if you are sick.
  • Cover: Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze into bare hands. Do not leave tissues running around

People should not sneeze or cough into their hands, as in doing so, they may contaminate objects and people that they touch.

For more information, one can call the COVID-19 helpline on 21324086 or visit the website covid19.gov.mt.