The health authorities are taking a ‘proactive’ approach to screen for COVID-19, including offering a coronavirus test to anyone who calls the 111 helpline, even if they are not showing any symptoms. 

Professionals at swabbing centres and those taking calls on 111 have been told that since the number of people asking to get tested has dropped, the authorities will be “actively looking” for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the community.

This includes high-risk groups such as migrants, healthcare workers, police and army officials, and also those who call the helpline. The change in tack was communicated in an email on Monday. 

It said: "In view of the decreasing number of people requesting to be swabbed, we are changing our strategy into a more proactive one.

"We are going to actively look for people in the community who might be COVID-19 positive and yet are asymptomatic."

Previously those with coronavirus-like symptoms who call the helpline were being given an appointment to get tested at one of the swabbing centres across the island. Now anyone who calls the number will be given an appointment.  

The numbers of new coronavirus cases have dropped in recent days and Sunday marked the first day in six weeks without a single new COVID-19 patient. 

It has sparked discussion about lifting some of the measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus. 

However Superintendent of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, has also raised concerns about people missing their testing appointments,  and said that this could pose a risk to public health.

Gauci has expressed concern that the no-shows could also be spreading the virus further without even knowing that they are actually infected.  

Publicly available data shows that Malta is among the best performers with it comes to the number of tests carried out per head of population.

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