A young British couple on their first holiday together have become trapped in their hotel room and are being forced to pay for it after a coronavirus quarantine was imposed in Malta.
Chloe Hoyes, 17, and Sam Dawson, 18, travelled to the popular tourist destination today but arrived shortly after the announcement of mandatory isolation for anyone coming from the UK.
The teens, both from Bolton, had just arrived and checked in at their hotel in Sliema when a manager delivered the news that their dream trip was about to become a nightmare.
Just hours earlier Maltese prime minister Robert Abela launched a 14-day quarantine for anyone travelling in from the UK, with police carrying out spot checks in the streets and handing out €1,000 (£900) fines for anyone caught outside.
The couple had only planned to spend two nights in Malta but are now faced with two weeks trapped in the same room – a particular problem for Sam who suffers from type 1 diabetes but only has a few days supply of insulin.
"We got here about 12.30pm and we came straight to the hotel and nothing had been said," Chloe told the Manchester Evening News.
"We checked in and we went upstairs into the room. We thought everything we fine and then the manager came to the room…
"He said stop right there don't come out of the room, you have to stay here for 14 days."
The teenage couple have also been told that they will have to pay the cost of staying in their room at the Plaza Regency Hotel for two weeks, as well as the price of meals that will have to be brought to them.
The couple did not specify what the total bill they faced amounted to.
Chloe added: "They've told us we can't leave the room or we will be reported to the police. We have called our insurance, we've called the embassy, we've called everyone we can.
"We've been told that we have to pay for everything that we use. We don't know what's going on we're stranded out here, we're trapped."
She added: "They've brought us up some water but we're sat here now with idea what to do. We're quarantined and having to pay for it."
To make matters worse, the trip was part of a birthday celebration for Sam, who turns 19 on Sunday.
His girlfriend explained: "We were so excited when we were getting on the plane, it's my partner's birthday on Sunday as well so we were really looking forward to that. We had enough money for the days we are here but not any more.
"I understand that it's important and they've to do everything they can but this is crazy."
A manager at the hotel told the Manchester Evening News confirmed that guests staying for longer than they had booked would have to pay extra.
He also explained that people can book flights back to their own countries and leave Malta but that this might involve communicating with their embassy.
"Everyone is quarantined wherever the come from in whatever part of the world. Basically, we're telling people not to travel if they can and stay at home instead," he said.
"The circumstances are unfortunate but this is the way at the moment, nobody is happy to stay 14 days locked in a room even if they have the loveliest sea view in the world.
"And, it puts a lot of pressure on us as well."
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