Prayers. Contaminated trolleys. Talk of an impending World War 3 – welcome to Malta’s Coronavirus group.
“This group is for rational discussions only. If you have a hysterical reaction to information and begin personally attacking people, you will be banned,” the admin of the group says before you enter the group.
Created less than a month ago, the group already has a staggering 20,000 members and with over 150 posts per day, it is the place for any COVID-19 related-discussion and that extra Maltese-spiced drama we can’t live without.
‘CoronaVirus Malta Updates’ is the online epicenter of the local coronavirus panic.
Posts in the group vary from general expressions of panic to anger at authorities, end of the world woes, World War 3 speculations and even panic over contaminated supermarket trolleys.
One member even suggested the halting of all modes of inbound transport (no thanks, buddy) and of course, in peak Maltese fashion, several calls for prayer and a sprinkle of casual xenophobia.
Another member even pleads for the Pope to cancel his on-coming trip to Malta. Other posts call for others to keep their cool and take precautions accordingly.
Here are a few personal favourites:
…Because it’s not a Maltese group unless someone is praying for us.
…Or someone proclaiming the end of the world. (Karen, No. The world is not ending.)
Can we not?
And of course, that one guy who always mentions the inevitability of World War 3. I suggest you stick to your 3am Youtube conspiracy videos. (And check out the fatality rates of Coronavirus while you’re at it.)
*prays in hand sanitizer*
Bonus: an unsurprising plea to the Pope
And finally, my favourite.
Beyond the understandable concerns raised from the possibility of the coronavirus hitting our shores, some commentators prove to be truly conspiracy worthy, others downright hilarious and all if nothing a true embodiment of what makes us Maltese.
That being said, the increasing coronavirus panic may be linked to Italy’s recent reports of lockdown in an attempt to control the outbreak. With over 200 coronavirus cases and a sixth confirmed death reported Monday, Italy is the worst-hit country outside Asia and with Malta so painfully close by, maybe we should think about whipping out those rosary beads; avoiding trolleys, and stocking up on canned vitals from Mayor and Jubilee for a delicious post-war platt tal-ravjul (possibly a subjective take, but ravjul would definitely be my death row/post-coronavirus-fueled-war meal.)
Thermal screeners for all in-bound passengers have been installed at the International Airport of Malta, as well as for cruise liners and catamaran terminals.
Until now, there have been two suspected cases that have been tested and resulted in a negative in Malta with three more in quarantine after possible contact with a confirmed case on the Westerdam cruise liner. All three contacts have remained asymptomatic, authorities said.
Let the trolley burning begin.
For medical advice about the Coronavirus epidemic, you should contact the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Unit on 21324086.