An elderly Albanian couple has filed a judicial suit against the health authorities, demanding compensation and moral damages for the way they were forced into a quarantine hotel upon their arrival to Malta.
The couple, aged 67 and 72, travelled to Malta last September to visit their son, who lives on the island and is married to a Maltese national.
Although they are both fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and although Malta recognises Albania’s vaccination certificate, it doesn’t recognise the Sinovac vaccine they were jabbed with.
The health authorities forced them to quarantine for two weeks at the Marina Hotel at their own cost, but ended up releasing them a few days early following pressure by their relatives, who warned that the elderly woman suffers from dementia and required emergency medical attention.
However, they were only refunded for the remaining hotel quarantine days that were not used, meaning they still ended up losing €1,005.
Lawyer Mark Refalo today filed a judicial protest against Health Minister Chris Fearne, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci and the government’s chief medical officer, calling for a full refund of the hotel quarantine bill as well as moral damages for his clients.
The legal letter says that, following back and forth between the family and the health authorities, it was determined that the Albanian couple was isolated for no reason as there had been an issue with the airport scanner.
“Nonetheless, my clients had been required to pay an advance charge of €1,400 for the entire 14-day period at the hotel and was only refunded for the remaining days that were not used, ie. €395, which cannot be accepted,” the letter states.
“My clients have every right to request a full refund since [they] were forced to stay at the quarantine hotel, which could have been avoided, especially considering [the woman’s] deteriorating medical condition with dementia diagnosis, which is confirmed by attached medical reports.”
“It had a substantial impact on [her] health since it induced anxiety and severe dementia-related panic attacks, requiring the hotel administration’s intervention on numerous occasions.”
Refalo said that public authorities must be held accountable for the “unlawful arrest” and the “inhuman and humiliating treatment” his clients suffered, which he warned violates numerous provisions of the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Therefore, by means of the present letter, my client is hereby requesting compensation to cover the full actual financial loss by my clients we well as moral damages suffered by [the couple] for the distress caused to them when the health authorities’ actions needlessly forced an elderly person suffering from dementia illness to isolate in a cramped and unsuitable room despite having valid documentation.”
“By means of the present letter, you are hereby solicited to revert within seven days with a view to the liquidation and payment of the compensation due. In your default my clients shall have no option but to proceed according to law.”
Do you think the couple deserves compensation?