A young British couple during their first vacation together got trapped in their hotel room and are forced to pay for it after the imposition of a coronavirus quarantine in Malta.
Chloe Hoyes, 17, and Sam Dawson, 18, traveled to the popular tourist destination today but arrived shortly after the announcement of mandatory isolation for anyone from the UK.
The boys, both from Bolton, had just arrived and checked in to their hotel in Sliema when a manager reported that their dream trip would become a nightmare.
A few hours earlier, Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela had launched a 14-day quarantine for anyone coming from the UK, with police conducting random checks on the streets and distributing 1,000 (£ 900) fines for anyone caught outside.
The couple had planned to spend only two nights in Malta, but are now facing two weeks trapped in the same room – a particular problem for Sam who suffers from type 1 diabetes but has only a few days of insulin.
“We got here around 12.30 and came straight to the hotel and nothing was said,” Chloe told Manchester Evening News.
“We arrived and went upstairs to the room. We thought about everything that was fine and then the manager came into the room …
“He said to stop right there don’t leave the room, you have to stay here for 14 days.”
The teenage couple was also told that they will have to pay the living expenses in their room at the Plaza Regency Hotel for two weeks, as well as the price of the meals to be brought to them.
The couple did not specify what the total bill they had to match was for.
Chloe added: “We were told that we cannot leave the room or that we will be reported to the police. We called our insurance company, called the embassy, called everyone we can.
“We’ve been told that we have to pay for everything we use. We don’t know what’s going on, we’re stuck here, we’re trapped.”
He added: “They brought us some water but now we are sitting here with the idea of what to do. We are quarantined and we have to pay for it.”
To make matters worse, the trip was part of a birthday party for Sam, who turns 19 on Sunday.
His girlfriend explained: “We were so excited when we got on the plane, Sunday is also my partner’s birthday, so we couldn’t wait. We had enough money for the days when we are here, but no more.
“I understand it’s important and they have to do everything they can, but it’s crazy.”
A hotel manager reported to the Manchester Evening News that he confirmed that guests staying longer than they had booked would have to pay extra.
He also explained that people can book return flights to their countries and leave Malta but that this could involve communicating with their embassy.
“Everyone is quarantined from anywhere in the world. Basically, we are telling people not to travel if they can and to stay at home,” he said.
“The circumstances are unfortunate, but at the moment it is so, nobody is happy to be closed for 14 days in a room even if they have the most beautiful sea view in the world.
“It also puts a lot of pressure on us.”