Residents of the Ħal Far open centre will be confined to the centre for at least another two weeks, with the government saying on Friday that it is extending mandatory quarantine there for another 14 days. 

The extended quarantine period will begin on the last date when a resident of the centre tests positive for the virus between Friday and Sunday, April 19. 

Extended quarantine was ordered by the Superintendent for Public Health and announced jointly by the Health and Home Affairs ministries. 

The open centre has been under lockdown since April 6, with the initial decision made after several residents tested positive for the virus. 

Infected people are being isolated and cared for in a specially set up medical facility adjacent to the centre and authorities have also been testing residents at random, to identify further cases. 

Residents who have been in contact with infected people are being kept in quarantine in a separate facility. Both this building and the medical centre housing infected patients are being administered by the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers. 

The two buildings have allowed authorities to move up to 20 per cent of the open centre’s population out, easing some of the cramped living conditions which make it impossible for residents to exercise social distancing.

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