Anyone who wants to get rid of their old mattresses and other bulky refuse will have to wait for a few days due to a COVID-19 outbreak at WasteServ.

Five workers have so far tested positive for the virus and almost half the workforce is in quarantine, leading to a temporary shutdown of all civic amenity sites.

Local councils use these sites to drop off bulky waste collected from households. 

Wasteserv CEO Richard Bilocca asked the public to wait for a few days until the service can resume safely.

“Whilst we understand that this is a vital service that is comfortable and easy to use, we cannot jeopardise the health and safety of our workers, and are making sure we follow protocol as set by public health guidelines,” Bilocca said.

Local councils planning on using the service this week have been asked to take their refuse directly to Magħtab but the cost of €20 per tonne of waste is being charged.

However, councils will still be forced to find temporary alternatives to dispose of metallic or electronic components.

Bilocca explained that workers are normally tasked with picking apart more complex bits of waste are not currently available to do so. Consequently, the public is asked to wait for the service to return to normal.

“This will not be a very long delay, we are merely waiting for swab test results to make sure that our workers are safe. I would rather lose my workers’ availability for a few days rather than end up with shortfalls that last a few weeks,” Bilocca said.

Bilocca explained that the Wasteserv plant in Luqa had to be closed on Friday night when there were the first indications that someone might be carrying the virus.

Despite the fact that Bilocca said workers were wearing full personal protective equipment whilst performing their duties, the virus seemed to find a way to spread relatively quickly.

“We believe there is a possibility that the original carrier might have been asymptomatic, which would have made the spread less easy to notice,” the CEO said.

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