Patients have been caught lying to the health authorities about their travel history amid fears of facing precautionary coronavirus quarantine, a doctor at Mater Dei Hospital’s emergency room has said.

In a public social media post, Michael Spiteri said there have been patients who were “caught lying” about their recent visits abroad as the health authorities step up efforts to try to contain the spread of coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Malta registered its seventh case of COVID-19, a few hours after Prime Minister Robert Abela announced he would be extending a flight ban to Italy to also include Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland. 

According to Spiteri, the health authorities have “a multiple layer patient filter system” that enabled them to identify these people and then followed the appropriate protocols. 

“Luckily all tested negative. There is no need to lie to us... even if you have a travel history, we will still see you but through different channels. Care for us since we are the ultimate line of defence in these circumstances... but we can still fall ill,” Spiteri said.

Anyone who is travelling from Italy, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Iran, South Korea Germany, Spain, France and Switzerland must follow the mandatory quarantine rules. Mandatory quarantine is for a period of 14 days. Anyone found not adhering to these rules could be fined €1,000.

People transiting through airports in these countries, as well as any relatives, even those who were not abroad, must follow the mandatory quarantine rules.

The government will be introducing a service to deliver food and medicine to people forced into mandatory quarantine. 

Details about the service have not yet been announced. 

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