A young British couple who ended up ‘trapped’ in a Sliema hotel following the suddenly-announced coronavirus quarantine for all incoming visitors to Malta has been offered the option to leave after their holiday from hell was picked up by the media.
Chloe Hoyes, 17, and Sam Dawson 18, landed in Malta on Friday only to learn upon their arrival at the Plaza Regency Hotel, that they could not venture outdoors or else risk being fined €1,000.
This restriction came in the wake of the decision to impose an obligatory 14-day quarantine period, which came into force just minutes before the couple landed.
Apart from lacking the financial means to finance their fortnight stay in the hotel, their situation was further compounded due to Dawson's health, as he suffers from type 1 diabetes and had only enough insulin till Sunday when he was meant to return to the UK.
Their ordeal made headlines in the UK media, after Hoyes posted about their predicament on Facebook in an attempt to flag their situation to the authorities.
Contacted by Times of Malta, the couple expressed their frustration.
“Our only request is to go back to the UK with our scheduled flight on Sunday, as otherwise we won’t be able to cover the costs of our stay. We lack the means to cover the 14-day accommodation at the hotel including all food, and even the flight as prices have already skyrocketed,” Hoyes said.
She thanked the hotel staff, and the Maltese people in general including restaurant owners who had offered them to deliver food to their room and hundreds who had sent their support through Facebook.
“However, it makes no sense keeping us here. All we are asking is to be transferred straight from the hotel to the plane on Sunday,” she insisted.
Their calls appear to have been heeded. Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia and the Malta Tourism Authority said there had been a misinterpretation of the quarantine deadline since their flight had departed before the lockdown announcement.
The couple has now been offered the option to either leave on Sunday as scheduled or else have the trip extended with all the costs being footed by the hotel itself. Insulin was also provided at once.
The helpline for tourists impacted by the quarantine measure is 00356 21692447.
In a tweet on Saturday, British High Commissioner to Malta Stuart Gill said it is crucial to read the advice on who is covered by the Maltese government’s self-quarantine requirements and what to do.
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