Lab scientists within Mater Dei Hospital have been told that their services are so crucial that they should return to work instead of going into quarantine after their colleague tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, Lovin Malta can reveal.
Sources who spoke to Lovin Malta explained how one lab scientist had reported into work on 20th March, before developing symptoms over the weekend.
The person tested positive on Monday morning and their colleagues were told to remain in the laboratory while each of them was swabbed for COVID-19.
They all tested negative but were told that their services are so crucial to the nation that they should continue working rather than enter quarantine as would normally have been the case.
The decision, sources say, came directly from the hospital’s Infection Control Unit.
The scientists all tested negative but are still in the incubation period of the virus, which is anywhere from two days to two weeks.
There have been 110 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Malta with most patients recovering at home. However, the government is already anticipating a scenario where resources at the hospital could be stretched thin.
Despite announcing a potential bed capacity of 680, the Health Ministry has revealed that is it looking to build a prefabricated hospital within eight weeks.
Questions sent to the Health Ministry were unanswered by the time of publication.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Malta has seen the government roll out necessary but drastic measures to combat its spread. Flights are closed, as are non-essential shops, non-essential services, bars, restaurants, and gyms, among others.
The government has also imposed a mandatory quarantine while also encouraging self-isolation among the public. However, the threat of local transmission remains apparent.