A group of parents have expressed their fears that a student at their child’s school wasn’t tested for the coronavirus despite having contracted a respiratory illness shortly after returning from a holiday in Wuhan, the Chinese city most impacted by this new virus.
The parents reached out to Lovin Malta after the headmaster of St Edward’s College emailed them to warn that a student who returned from China with a respiratory illness was being ostracised by his peers. The headmaster said the child was being monitored as a precaution but that the Health Department had cleared him to return to college.
However, the parents warned that this case exposed the lack of security measures being taken by the Maltese health authorities to prevent the coronavirus spreading to the island. The virus, which has reportedly claimed the lives of 213 people in China, has already been confirmed in the UK, Italy and Germany and some countries have reacted by banning flights to China.
“Can you imagine your child in the same class of a child who fell ill and had just arrived from Wuhan? How would you feel if he returns to school WITHOUT being tested? Would YOU stand silent? Would you have concerns? Would you want this child tested for his and your child’s sake?”
“We know of this case because this child happened to be ill and the headmaster issued notifications – and yet it has not been confirmed if the child (and the family) have been swabbed or tested. Apparently not – as the headmaster would have written otherwise.”
“Even if the child wasn’t ill, aren’t we supposed to be swabbing every arrival from China, especially people who traveled directly from the most affected areas like Wuhan, etc?”
“This is a clear case of failure on the part of the Health Authorities – from ensuring that the right precautions to avoid an outbreak in Malta is in place.”
The parents urged the health authorities to swab everyone who returns to Malta from the most impacted areas of China.,
“It is also unfair on these particular children, as in the case of this child, who become the cause of fear/alarm within confined places such as schools, while it is also not fair that so many students and families would have to cope with doubts – and yet interact with their ‘innocent’ school mates,” they said.
“We also sympathize with the stress and trauma this child and his family have been subjected to — simply because the Health Department decided not to perform the necessary tests and shut all doubts and fears this incident might have caused.”