None of the passengers that have landed in Malta from so-called safe countries have had to be tested for COVID-19 so far, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci has confirmed. 

Speaking during Times of Malta’s Ask Charmaine Facebook show, Gauci said thermal screening was being carried out at both the arrivals and departures lounges but there had been no need to test anyone yet. 

Anyone found to have a temperature of higher than 37.2 degrees Celsius must undergo a swab test. 

“So far we haven’t had the need to swab anyone at the airport. We know that the effectiveness of the thermal screening is limited so it’s just one of the instruments we are using,” Gauci said. 

The health authorities’ decision not to subject passengers to an automatic swab test has been topic of discussion, with some arguing for more stringent measures to prevent a new spread of infection. 

But Gauci said a negative test does not necessarily mean the subject is not carrying the infection.

Those returning on repatriation flights from countries yet to be deemed safe must take a test and then go into quarantine for 14 days. They are then tested again before being allowed to come out of self-isolation. 

Meanwhile, Gauci also revealed that one of the recent COVID-19 cases was a student at one of the summer schools, although she insisted the measures in place helped contain the spread. 

“We had a case at a summer school recently but because of our measures, there was no spread. The students are being kept in small groups and do not even meet during break time. 

“We are also keeping their tables at a distance in order to minimise contact,” Gauci said. 

There are currently five active cases of coronavirus in Malta, after 665 recoveries and nine deaths.

On Wednesday, authorities announced two new cases had been detected, after 1,016 swabs.

One of these new cases was imported, Gauci said. 

"As long as we are contained, I’m not worried. My worry would be when we have ongoing community transmission that is not contained,” she said.

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