Tourists who test positive for COVID-19 on their arrival in Malta are being offered accommodation by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) until they recover, Times of Malta is informed.
According to an official manning the COVID-19 travel helpline, once patients test positive for the virus at the airport, the health and tourism authorities are immediately roped in.
On the health side, the authorities carry out the usual checks for any complications and initiate contact tracing protocols.
Meanwhile, the MTA is tasked with securing a place for the tourists to be kept in isolation while they recover.
All costs for the tourists’ stay throughout their quarantine period are covered by the tourism authority.
The move is aimed at making sure those with novel coronavirus do not leave the country before they are declared clear of the virus.
Health sources have told Times of Malta that although most coronavirus patients have no – or very few – symptoms, some are taking longer to recover.
Questions sent to the tourism ministry on how much it costs to provide accommodation for the virus-infected tourists remained unanswered.
Since Malta introduced its so-called amber register – a list of countries deemed risky and from which travellers must produce a negative test upon arrival – at least three travellers were found to have the virus during random testing at the airport.
The authorities have not said whether the travellers live in Malta or whether they came here on holiday.
A patient is first re-tested for the virus after 14 days.
If the test is once again positive, a third test is taken a week later, meaning it could be around three to four weeks before a person is officially declared as having recovered from COVID-19.
Currently there are five countries on Malta’s amber list – Barcelona, Girona and Madrid, in Spain, along with Romania, Bulgaria, Tunisia and Czech Republic.
Questions on how many travellers have been tested for the virus since the rules came into force a week ago have also remained unanswered despite reminders.
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