The COVID-19 Long-Term Care situation in the Islands of Malta and Gozo

Maria Aurora Fenech1, Matthew Vella2, Neville Calleja3, on behalf of the Malta COVID-19 Response Team

1 University of Malta, Department of Gerontology and Dementia Studies

2 Chief Executive Officer, Social Care Standards Authority

3 Director, Department for Policy in Health – Information and Research

The full report on the COVID-19 Long-Term Care situation in the Islands of Malta and Gozo is available here:

Key findings:

  • The pandemic response team had been in place well before the first COVID-19 case was registered in Malta. The first case was registered on the 7 March 2020, and during the first 2 weeks of the pandemic all cases were imported.  A mandatory 2-week quarantine was put in place for all in-coming travellers during the second week of the pandemic.
  • Malta’s size and population were potentially favourable towards ensuring better COVID-19 control measures. Nine (9) deaths have been recorded to date.
  • The Superintendent of Public Health together with the COVID-19 Response Team were key towards ensuring effective and timely mitigation efforts both with the general public as well as ensuring that the local health care system was robust enough to meet the needs brought about by the pandemic.
  • The daily medical bulletins broadcast by the Superintendent of Public Health kept the public continually updated on COVID-19 matters. The bulletins provide the Public Health Authority with a publicly accessible platform to focus and strengthen health promotion efforts in respect to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Swabbing and contact tracing within the 3 testing hubs on the Island were key towards controlling the pandemic.
  • A series of measures were put in place early on with the key aim of ordering categories of persons referred to as ‘vulnerable’, to remain segregated in their residences, (except in the cases of attendance for medical appointments, obtain medical care or treatment, acquire food, medicine, other daily necessities, or to attend to any other essential or urgent personal matters). 
  • The voluntary response by management and health care professionals within the care homes on the Island was paramount towards recording no deaths within these facilities; the majority of care homes were in lockdown for 12 weeks, whilst other care homes worked on 1, 2 or 3 week shifts. Swabbing of health care professionals was mandatory prior to assuming duties within the residential care facilities.
  • As of the 4 May 2020, the Superintendent of Public Health embarked on a stepwise relaxation of measures. The first measure was followed by the second and third relaxation of measures on the 22 May 2020 and 5 June 2020.
Making a family skype call, source:

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