All people arriving in Malta will be screened by thermal cameras, after two deaths linked to the new coronavirus were reported in Italy.
Malta will this week introduce thermal screening cameras at the airport, cruise liner and catamaran terminals.
The health authorities explained that those flagged by the thermal screening as having a fever will be tested further.
Asked whether Malta would adopt a lockdown policy if coronavirus cases start being identified here, a spokesperson referred Times of Malta to a statement in which the health authorities said they were implementing all the “necessary preparedness and response actions required for an outbreak”.
In northern Italy, about 50,000 people are poised for a weeks-long lockdown as the authorities scramble to halt a further increase in infections.
In Malta, the health authorities said that in view of the expected spread to countries outside of China, including Europe, they were screening those arriving from affected countries. Following Italy's reported incidents, everyone will start being screened.
They appealed for cooperation for early identification of cases and called on people to call 2132 4086 or their doctor if they have travelled to affected areas and have respiratory symptoms within 14 days from their return.
Do not go directly to health centres or hospital, they warned.
They also appealed for cooperation when it comes to public health measures in the investigation of suspected cases, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine.
So far, two suspected cases have been tested and resulted negative and three people are in quarantine after possible contact with a confirmed case on the Westerdam cruise liner.
All three have remained asymptomatic.
One of the three, an 88-year-old man has told the Sunday Times of Malta that he felt “humiliated” with the way he was handled by the authorities on his arrival on Friday.
The man, who has tested negative for the virus, has been placed into voluntary quarantine.
The other two are a couple who arrived earlier in the week.
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