The Malta Tourism Authority plans to continue flying Covid-positive English language students back to their home countries, a spokesperson for the authority told The Malta Independent.
The first flight is scheduled for today, where around 100 positive students will be flying to France. Students on such repatriation flights will be onboard chartered medical aircraft.
The Maltese government had originally offered vouchers to students opting to travel to Malta to study English. The way the vouchers for English students worked, was that for every night that an English language student spent in Malta, they were to receive a €10 voucher. These vouchers were only to be given to a student if they were to spend a minimum of 15 nights, up to a maximum of 30 nights.
On 9 July however, due to the spike in Covid-19 cases, the government announced that English Language schools were to close on 15 July. The Times of Malta recently reported that over 500 foreign students who came to Malta to study English have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent weeks.
Responding to questions sent by this newsroom, the Malta Tourism Authority said that it is paying for the repatriation flights for Covid positive students, which are being coordinated with the assistance of the health authorities.
“Repatriation flights for positive students will be limited to one country per flight… There are strict protocols in place with regards to the transit of these students, as well as other conditions of carriage which have to be duly followed by the students, relating to baggage handling and personal protective equipment which needs to be worn at all times, by the students and medical staff alike,” the spokesperson said.
This is not the only kind of flights which the MTA is organising for English language students. Flights are also being organised for students who were in contact with Covid positive cases and are currently in mandatory quarantine. These students are being flown on normal chartered aircraft, an MTA
“Last Monday a flight for negative students flew to Rome then to Frankfurt, while on Tuesday, a flight for negative students flew to Paris, and then to Madrid.”
Both these flights carried 196 students altogether.
Discussions are ongoing between the MTA, the Local and Foreign Health Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps to plan more flights over the coming days and weeks.