A new facility aimed at testing suspected novel coronavirus cases will be ready within two days, Health Minister Chris Fearne said during a political activity in Rabat today.
The announcement comes as the minister attempted to quell fears over the spread of the coronavirus in Malta after the first infected family was confirmed to be on the island yesterday.
Apart from the testing facility, Fearne noted a number of other measures that were being taken to decrease the risk of spreading the new virus.
People entering local polyclinics will also be tested for the virus from here on out. There are also 18 rooms in Mater Dei that have been put aside for the isolation and treatment of positive cases, with some rooms inside ITU.
The government also has another 72 beds, some in Boffa Hospital, earmarked to be used in the event that further positive cases are found on the island.
Fearne said that Malta has been prepared for the virus – indeed, he himself had said he expected to virus to come to Malta eventually in an interview on Xarabank following the outbreak that is believed to have originated in China.
In today’s meeting, he went on to say that just as Malta was prepared to handle the first case of the coronavirus, it would be able to handle further cases. Fearne noted that a special helpline that was set up to answer the public’s questions on the coronavirus had already received thousands of calls.
He reiterated that there was no reason to be alarmed as the country was ready to fight against the coronavirus.
Fearne went on to thank health workers who are working hard to keep the coronavirus at bay, noting that while other countries were shocked to find the coronavirus in their country, Malta has been prepared for it.
During the same activity, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that the parents and the girl found to be positive with the coronavirus were in a good state of health.
Malta’s first positive case of coronavirus was discovered yesterday in a young Italian girl.
Since then, there has been disagreement within government on whether to halt all flights from northern Italy, a region hard-hit by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Just today, the Italian government announced that up to 16 million people were being put into quarantine in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.
Hours after that announcement, the Medical Association of Malta called for an immediate halt to flights from northern Italy.