Well shit got real, real fast over on this little island. The number of confirmed coronavirus (covid-19) cases varies per source with news sources stating 129 (as of Thurs 26th March) but other websites claiming doctors state many cases are going unreported. So right now, who knows what the real figures are. But here is what we do know and what you need to know if you are in Malta right now.
Everything you need to know about coronavirus in Malta
- Is Malta on lock-down?
- I’m not at risk so I don’t need to worry
- Am I washing my hands properly?
- How to get tested for coronavirus in Malta
- Do I need to quarantine?
- Do I need to stock up on supplies?
- Should I be going outside at all?
- Masks? Gloves?
- Things to do when quarantined in Malta
1. Is Malta on lock-down because of covid-19?
It’s not exactly on a full, official lock-down, but we’re not far off. All bars, cafes, restaurants, gyms and cinemas have been ordered to close as of midnight Tuesday 17th except for delivery and takeout. Both Bolt Food and TimetoEat delivery drivers are enforcing contactless delivery (i.e leaving it outside your door). The majority of offices are having their employees work from home.
Most grocery stores and supermarkets in Malta are still open, but expect queues. Smaller shops are only allowing 1-3 people in at a time, larger ones more like 20 at a time- the rest have to queue out on the street on a one-in-one-out basis. Expect to be squirted with some kind of sanitisor or disinfectant when you do eventually get in.
2. I’m not at risk so I don’t need to worry
No. This is an ignorant and outright selfish standpoint. Firstly, we know so little about this virus that it’s not really safe to assume that it’ll be a bit of a cold and you’ll be over it. But, it does seem like as long as you are young and otherwise healthy, you will recover and be fine.
But the risk you pose is not to yourself. Wake up and look at the bigger picture. What if you have it (and maybe don’t even realise) and end up passing it on to someone who is already in poor health, or old and they go on to die? Do you think that’s OK? Yes fucking flu or a bad cold can also be super dangerous for those people but those are known threats with vaccines and medicine to prevent and cure. They don’t have that for Covid-19 yet so those people are at risk and you are the ones putting them at risk.
3. Am I washing my hands properly?
Probably not. Do it like this, every time.
4. How to get tested for coronavirus in Malta
The information on this is pretty lacking, but if you are worried that you may have the virus and want to get tested, call 111 and they will tell you what to do.
Do not turn up at your GP clinic or hospital. If you do have it, you’ll only spread the virus even further. Call 111 and follow their guidance.
5. Do I need to quarantine?
The answer to this is yes if:
- you have symptoms of covid-19 coronavirus
- you have been in close contact with someone with symptoms
- you arrived in Malta from abroad after Friday 13th March
It doesn’t matter what country you arrived from if you landed here after 13th March, you have to self-quarantine inside for 14 days. According to the government, police will be doing spot checks and fining people who are caught breaking this measure, €10,000 per infraction. This has quickly increased from €1,000 to €3,000 and now to €10,000.
If you’re currently in quarantine and don’t have anyone to help bring you the supplies you need during this time please call 21 411 411.
So, if you’re holidaying here at least for the next few weeks- cancel.
6. Do I need to stock up on supplies?
Not really, but also kind of. Don’t be one of those people who is stockpiling huge amounts of food or home supplies. Worst case scenario right now is being holed up at home for 2 weeks. So all you really need is to make sure you have enough food and water for a couple of weeks. It’s also a great way to limit your time ourside. One decent sized shop every 2 weeks means you always have enough, should you need to quarntine and you’re not out and about at a risk of catching it every day.
This does not mean going and buying huge amounts of fruit, veg, canned items, toilet paper and medicine that you will not reasonably use up before it goes bad. Don’t buy shit you’ll end up wasting and don’t buy shit you don’t like or even know how to cook because some ‘end of the world’ prepper advised it.
Just get the ingredients for your favourite dishes to keep you and your family fed in case you need to spend 2 weeks or so avoiding the outside world.
7. Should I be going outside at all?
If you are not under quarantine then yes, you can go out. But don’t do it more than you have to. Covid-19 (the coronavirus) is highly contagious and no one enjoys being sick, however bad or mild, so, for the foreseeable future, it’s better to stay in as much as possible.
Yes, many businesses such as cafes, bars and restaurants are going to suffer, yes you’ll be a bit bored. But it’s for the greater good. Limit interaction with others and time spent outside for now. I’d recommend:
- forget bars, cafes and restaurants- eat and drink at home
- avoid shops as much as possible- do a bigger shop (do NOT panic buy!) every 1 – 2 weeks rather than popping to the shop daily
- still get some fresh air- you can take a stroll outside to get ‘fresh’ (lol, it’s still Malta) air and some exercise, but avoid people and keep it brisk.
8. Masks? Gloves?
Most healthcare experts right now are asking masks are generally, useless. They are most useful if you are infected and want to limit how likely you are to pass on the virus, but if you have it, you must not leave the house under current rules anyway.
If you are not under quarantine and want to wear one when you go out- knock yourself out but don’t think you are safe. Most people are still lifting them to eat or talk and are still touching their face etc so are just as likely to catch coronavirus.
When it comes to gloves, I don’t have anything scientific for you but common sense tells me they are pointless. They just become an extension of your hand. The glove will get dirty, you will touch your face, or touch a surface and stil get/spread it. Unless you literally change for new gloves every 10 minutes, which is horrific for the environment, they are useless. JUST WASH YOUR HANDS!
9. Things to do when in quarantine in Malta
Whether you are under mandatory quarantine (showing symptoms or arrived here from abroad) or are just trying to limit your exposure to the outside world, chances are you’re a little bored. Here are my tips for things to do to keep healthy and entertained at home.
- Netflix, obviously
- Exercise vids on YouTube
- Spring clean
- Listen to podcasts
We noticed from some friends recommendations that the shows you end up seeing on Netflix can vary wildly. So here are some that are worth a watch that you might not have been presented with:
- Ugly Delicious- food show
- Dirty Money – corruption in business
- White Gold – silly British comedy
- Explained – interesting things you may not know
- Abstract – all about art and design
- Safe – a drama, not amazing but easy watching
- The Good Place – lighthearted comedy
- Happy – super dark!
- Inside Number 9- British dark comedy
- Upstart Crow- super silly, super funny historical comedy with David Mitchell
- Ghost Stories- super creepy mini series
Workout videos to stretch those muscles
I love Blogilates workout videos on YouTube. It’s a pilates based channel and Cassie has workouts dedicated to any part of the body you might want to work on. But my favs are the short, quick workouts (5-7 minutes) and the stretching videos.
Clean, organise, donate
This is the perfect opportunity to clean your home from top to bottom. Go through your wardrobe (both winter and summer) and clear out things you don’t wear. Check out this video on a Wardrobe Editing System that’ll help you figure out what to keep, what to donate and how to style bits you love but never wear.
I’ll also be giving the apartment the deepest clean possible. The whole shebang- moving furniture, cleaning the leaves of my plants, dusting those high shelves no one sees, emptying, cleaning and organising the fridge. Get into all the nooks and crannies that you don’t manage during the regular cleans. It’s also a great workout.
Some of my favourite podcasts
- Reply All – a podcast about the internet
- Crime Junkies – murders and missing people
- No Such Thing as a Fish – comedy and fact based
- Freakonomics – economics but fun
If you have more suggestions I’d love to hear them!