One man showing severe symptoms of COVID-19 has been trapped at home for close to a week but has been left anxiously waiting to get tested after health authorities failed to organise transport.
John* started showing symptoms on Tuesday 17th November. He immediately began quarantining, and on Wednesday 18th November decided to contact the nation’s COVID-19 helpline, 111. John was showing all the typical symptoms of COVID-19: shortness of breath, loss of smell, and a short fever.
Operators on the helpline advised that John get tested as soon as possible. John, however, cannot drive and is simply unable to get to a testing centre without potentially exposing scores of people to the virus.
He explained his situation to the operators, who said transport would be arranged, advising him to contact the helpline in a few hours.
John’s frustrations would slowly grow. He has called the helpline daily to check the status of the transport. However, he has been with delays and little information. Sometimes he has been left on the line with no response.
John’s symptoms have worsened since and is still struggling to recover, finding issues with breathing. He is eager to get tested, hopeful that a positive result could at least spur doctors to react and attempt to treat his condition before it worsens further.
In moments of extreme frustration, John, a foreign national, has considered boarding a bus or walking several kilometres to the nearest testing centre. However, he’s terrified of spreading the virus further.
John still remains hopeful that Malta’s COVID-19 authorities will set up his transport soon. But he’s growing more and more concerned that his condition can worsen much further. More so, he’s also concerned that should he recover, the pressure to return to work and maintain his basic livelihood could force him to leave home far too early.
So far, Malta’s COVID-19 authorities have conducted rigorous contact tracing and aggressive testing to try and contain the virus. The country has experienced a steady increase over recent weeks as the government battles to contain the virus.
Malta’s active cases have dipped slightly and efficient authorities have been able to do impressive work given the situation. Hopefully, more resources will be provided to ensure that tests are reaching those who need it most.
Names have been changed to ensure anonymity.
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