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Malta Amends Lockdown Rules, Elderly And Chronically Ill Can Now Leave Home To Buy Groceries, Medicine And Other Necessities

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In an update to the terms of partial lockdown, the elderly as well as chronically ill patients will be allowed to leave their homes for groceries, medicines and other necessities. Other reasons would need a special disposition given by the Superintendent of Public Health.

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne had announced lockdown measures for groups considered most vulnerable to COVID-19 yesterday, who were instructed not leave their homes except for medical reasons. This includes people over the age of 65, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses and adds to around 118,000 people.

However, the government appears to have backtracked. In a notice published on the official Facebook page for COVID-19 updates, the government said that people will also be allowed to leave their homes to buy groceries, medicinal products and other necessities and for other personal matters that are “absolutely essential or urgent.”

This category includes people who need to go to work for a limited period of time, parents who need to exercise their right to see their children as per court order, farmers who need to feed and take care of their animals, and people who need to go the bank.

“Vulnerable people who leave their homes for these reasons must make sure they don’t take longer than is necessary and must obey the Superintendent of Public Health’s directives on social distancing,” the notice read.

Police aren’t going to patrol the streets to enforce these rules, which means self-discipline and community participation will be crucial.

People with chronic illnesses include people with heart failure, respiratory conditions, patients on chemotherapy, immunosuppressed patients, patients on renal dialysis and people with insular dependent diabetics.

Those who are employed and cannot work from home are entitled to quarantine leave.

These groups should have received a letter at home to inform them they fall within this category.

If you believe you are suffering from the coronavirus, follow the following guidelines:

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people.

Do not go to Mater Dei, the emergency department, health centres, private clinics, or pharmacies. Stay home and call the public health authority’s helpline 111.

If you are returning from any country, do not break self-quarantine rules or you will be subject to a €10,000 fine.

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