Malta may have updated its quarantine rules this week, but some Maltese people still face the prospect of being forced to spend two weeks at a hotel upon their return to the island, even if they have been vaccinated.
Kevin Zammit, a Maltese national who lives in the Philippines and has been fully vaccinated with Pfizer’s jab there, spoke to Lovin Malta about his frustrations as the new travel rules come into effect today.
“Those of us who don’t hold a vaccine certificate recognised by the Maltese health authorities must quarantine at a miserable hotel like prisoners and pay €100 a day,” he said.
“I have been fully vaccinated here in the Philippines with an EMA-approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, however the Maltese government has yet to approve the vaccination certificates of countries like the Philippines.”
“I live alone in Malta, I am endangering nobody and yet even though I am vaccinated they are forcing me to accept the Hotel Quarantine. If you try to fill in the request form, you must approve that should you not be entitled to quarantine at home you are agreeing to do so in the designated hotels.”
As of yesterday, everyone who travelled to Malta from a ‘dark red’ country was forced to spend two weeks quarantined at one of two hotels at a cost of €1,400, which includes bed and breakfast.
Following public outrage, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that Maltese residents travelling from ‘dark red’ countries will be allowed to spend their quarantine period at home, so long as they’re in possession of a valid recognised vaccine certificate and live in a household of five or fewer people, all of whom are fully vaccinated.
All other people will be required to observe quarantine in a quarantine facility against payment of €100 a night per room.
Since Malta doesn’t yet recognise vaccine certificates issued by the Philippines, Zammit will only be able to apply for permission to quarantine at home instead of a hotel if he spends two weeks in a ‘red list’ country prior to his arrival in Malta or if Malta moves the Philippines to the red list.
The Maltese health authorities are expected to announce an updated ‘dark red’ later on today, which they say will be based on countries most at risk from the ‘Mu’ COVID-19 variant.
For Zammit, time is of the essence.
“I have been trying to get back home since May 2020,” he said. “I am tired of all the bureaucracy, my passport is expiring in December and there is no [Maltese] embassy here in the Philippines, it’s a lot of extra hassle as I have to send it to China.”
“All I want is to come home and quarantine in my own apartment where I have my office and can be productive in the two weeks of forced quarantine.”
Do you think Malta should allow all Maltese residents to quarantine at home?