Tourists who arrived in Malta today certainly drew the short end of the stick as they were informed shortly after their arrival about the country’s new quarantine rules for everyone who travels to the island as a precautionary measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Karen Redmile told Lovin Malta that she and a group of friends had been planning a three-day visit to Malta since November and weren’t informed of the new quarantine rules by anyone, including by Ryanair and the taxi driver who picked them up from the airport to their hotel. Indeed, they had made plans with the taxi driver to pick them up tomorrow to take them to the temples.
However, when they arrived at the hotel, the receptionist advised them that if they checked in they would be quarantined for 14 days at their own cost, even though they had only paid for three days, and that they would be fined €1000 if they left their rooms. All food would have to be purchased from the hotel.
“We have a lady with a brain tumour , one with COPD, one with a blood clot on the lung ( recovering ) and all only brought medication for three days,” she said. “One of the young mums fainted and one collapsed hysterical as they have left their children at home for the first time ever.”
They refused to check in and the airport paid for a taxi back to the airport but Ryanair’s next flights to England were for the next day.
“Six are booked in at 11 am to go to Leeds and myself and another lady at 4 pm to go to Exeter, an 8 hour drive from home,” she said. “It cost me £2000 for flights. I’ve then had to pay for a hotel for Exeter as the flight is too late to get home, and a further £300 train fair.”
“We have been left to sleep on an airport lounge unable to leave or be reported to the authorities. No blankets or anything.”
Their problems continued at the airport when KFC refused to serve them because of their nationality but they found solace at Costa Coffee who allowed them to stay and sleep in their outlet.
“We are scared now and worried that we are actually being exposed to the virus,” she said. “People are giving us a wide berth except the Costa coffee girls. It’s very quiet here, there are very few people around. We are now worried the flights might be cancelled tomorrow and we will be stranded here with no money or medications.”
Meanwhile, another British tourist, Chloe Clark, actually checked in, meaning she and her boyfriend are now quarantined inside their hotel, struggling to contact the British embassy to decide their next course of action.
“It’s now been hours and hours locked in our room with 0 food and 2 bottles of water for the both of us, we have been informed that we have to PAY for the 14 NIGHTS for the hotel and food which is €10 each meal ( breakfast, dinner and tea) and thats each day,” she said. “We have only brought enough money for 2 nights and not only have the hotel staff been extremely rude but have also offered us no help.”
“If we decide to step one foot out of our hotel room its a €1000 euro fine straight away and with Sam having Type 1 diabetes, he has only packed enough insulin and medicine for two nights and we have no clue what we do after that; we contacted insurance and the newspaper who are looking into it straight away.”
“People have asked me ‘why didn’t you check before you went” and “why would you still go” however the day before we came there were four cases [of COVID-19] here and nothing to worry about and only [people from] France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany [and Spain] were banned from entering and there was no reason to not come and be worried.”
“But about 30 minutes after we were getting ready to go out we have a knock on the door saying we can’t leave and have to pay even though we are being held against our own will and have no choice in the matter. After both crying and getting all stressed we have tried everything and still don’t know when we can come home and have been given hardly any information.”
“If anyone has any idea who we could contact or anything we can do please message me it would mean so much our holiday has turned to us sitting starving in a room waiting for someone to bring us food and still have to wait yet another hour for anything to eat or even a warm drink.”