Nationalist Party leadership candidate Bernard Grech has defended himself from accusations that he breached public health rules by not self-isolating for 14 days after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.

In a Facebook post, Grech said that he was being attacked by ministers as part of a coordinated campaign by the Labour Party to try and discredit him.

Grech spent two days in isolation this week until two COVID-19 tests gave him the all-clear, after his wife Anne Marie tested positive for the virus.

His wife had been in self-isolation since September 17 after she discovered that she had come into contact with a known virus case at her gym. She only tested positive for the virus several days later, following a second COVID-19 test.

Labour MPs including ministers subsequently criticised Grech for what they said was a breach of public health laws.

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri, Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia and Energy Minister Michael Farrugia, who have all been ordered into mandatory quarantine, drew comparisons between themselves and Grech. 

On Saturday, prime minister Robert Abela said that Grech seemed to have his own quarantine laws.

'I was never ordered into quarantine'

But in a statement, Grech rebutted those accusations and highlighted a key difference between his case and those of the ministers criticising him. 

“I was never ordered into mandatory quarantine by health authorities,” he said.

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He said his wife had isolated herself on September 17 and tested negative one day later. She exhibited no symptoms at the time. A second test on September 21 was however positive and she was ordered into mandatory quarantine.

“This requirement was not extended to myself or our children, given that we were last in contact with her when she had no symptoms and had tested negative,” Grech said on Facebook.

Grech said that he had self-isolated and taken two tests on September 23 and 25 out of an abundance of caution. Those tests were negative, as were tests taken by the couple’s children.

“These are the facts. It’s a shame some are out to twist them,” he added.

Grech is one of two candidates running to be the PN's next leader, with polls consistently placing him ahead of incumbent Adrian Delia.  

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