Watch: Mandatory quarantine can be at home or at one of our facilities – Prof. Gauci

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Three individuals who were on board a cruise liner were placed on mandatory quarantine. The MS Westerdam had been denied entry by several Asian countries over concerns of an outbreak of Covid-19, the name given to the disease caused by a novel coronavirus strain first identified in Wuhan, China. At least one passenger was confirmed to have contracted the virus.

So far no coronavirus cases were reported in Malta.

Newsbook.com.mt asked the Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci what is the difference between mandatory quarantine and self-quarantine.

When one is placed on mandatory quarantine such as the three cruise liner passengers, the individual can choose to return to their home or stay at the facility provided by the Health Authorities.

Prof. Gauci explained that in case of mandatory quarantine, the police would follow the case. She added that if one cannot be on mandatory quarantine at home, then the individual can stay at the facility which has been set up in the wake of the coronavirus.

Health authorities do not have any figures on the number of individuals who are on self-quarantine.

The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) President Martin Balzan criticised the approach and said that self-quarantine does not seem to be working in a press conference earlier this week. During the same press conference, Balzan cited cases where parents continued to send their children to school and employees returning to work, despite having visited countries which were ranked as high-risk.

Prof. Gauci reiterated that the health authorities has a plan which takes into account different scenarios once someone tests positive. If this happens, the authorities would start contact tracing to avoid the spread of the virus within the community.

The Superintendent of Public Health said that if the virus spreads into the community then different measures would have to be taken such as prohibiting large public gatherings.

Video: Miguela Xuereb