Malta’s first coronavirus testing centre will soon start seeing patients with symptoms of the virus, as the health authorities step up efforts to contain the outbreak. 

In a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said the centre has a total of eight cubicles, including one for persons with mobility issues. 

Gauci stressed that while open to the public, the centre is not a walk-in clinic and anyone visiting must only do so after being referred by a doctor or through the national COVID-19 helpline. 

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina
 

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This would only be done after it has been established that the person has coronavirus symptoms, she said. 

What happens at the centre? 

Upon entering the Luqa centre’s parking area, a doctor in protective gear will approach the patient, who will be asked to put blow their nose one last time before putting on a mask. 

The patient is then led inside and kept at a distance of at least one metre from the medical staff. Once inside, the patient is guided to one of the cubicles where a swab test is carried out. The swab is placed inside a sealed bag before it is taken to Mater Dei Hospital for testing. 

The patient is then escorted out and told to head back home and wait for the results. 

Patients should not use public transport to get to the centre, Gauci said, while those unable to drive themselves to the centre will have personnel carrying out the tests at home, as is already being done. 

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