Labour MEP Alex Agius Saliba has urged the health authorities to update its COVID-19 rules to allow Maltese residents travelling from ‘dark red’ countries to quarantine at home, rather than in a hotel.
“It is the Superintendent of Public Health’s prerogative to impose obligatory quarantine on people returning from countries with high COVID-19 transmission rates. However, I believe that the COVID hotel system whereby Maltese residents are forced into hotels doesn’t make sense,” Agius Saliba said.
The MEP spoke out after fitness influencer Daniel Umanah urged the health authorities to allow his sister Rachel to quarantine at home, rather than at a hotel, upon her return to Malta from Nigeria, one of several countries that have been classified as ‘dark red’.
Umanah warned that his sister, who has Down Syndrome, tends to go into a tantrum when she’s locked inside an unfamiliar room.
Her case has sparked national interest, with PN MP Ryan Callus publishing a video alongside the young girl’s mother Carmen Umanah, urging the health authorities to grant an exemption in this case.
PN MP Clyde Puli has gone a step further, stating it is “debatable” to force Maltese residents to quarantine at a hotel and “ridiculous” to do this to a girl with Down Syndrome.
Malta currently has only two officially recognized quarantine facilities – Marina Hotel in St George’s Bay and ST Sliema Hotel.
People are being forced to pay €1400 for their two-week stay, which only includes bed and breakfast.
“Rachel Umanah’s case is one of many that is creating useless problems which can easily be solved with a bit more flexibility that certainly won’t hurt anyone,” Agius Saliba concluded.
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