A couple who were forced into quarantine shortly after arriving on holiday have told how they were 'greeted by two really aggressive men in hazmat suits and goggles'.
Alex Eaton, 35, and Sarah Teal, 29, arrived to Malta for a luxurious trip on Friday, March 13.
However, the couple, from Burton, knew plans were going to change when they arrived at the airport.
Describing it unfold, Mr Eaton told DerbyshireLive : "We got to East Midlands Airport and there were a few passengers wearing face masks, but no-one was really making a fuss.
"When we got to Malta airport we were greeted by what I can only describe as two really aggressive men in hazmat suits and goggles.
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"They were using thermal imaging to detect if we had a temperature.
"They were shouting at people saying 'you over there, you get here'.
"It was like they were herding sheep – it was horrible.
"When we got to the hotel, we checked in and went down for some food.
"We'd been there 10 minutes when the general manager came over and said an announcement had been made by the Maltese prime minister that any citizens that have travelled from the UK had got to be on a 14-day quarantine.
"He said there'd be a 1,000-euro fine every time you're caught out and you may be arrested and held in custody.
"All the waiters had stopped and turned the TV up when the announcement was being made.
"They were all paying attention, but I didn't know what was being said."
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are:
- a dry, persistent cough
- a fever
If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate yourself for seven days.
It is not necessary to call NHS 111 unless your symptoms get more severe.
Some patients have reported fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath and aches and pains. Sneezing is not a symptom of the coronavirus.
The couple have not been allowed to leave their room since that moment, which dad-of-two Mr Eaton said had "taken a toll" on them both.
He said: "We've not been allowed to leave the room since we got here on March 13 and we've been put in a room on the quieter side of the hotel, out of the way.
"The staff knock on the door and literally run off and our food is waiting there outside.
"It's like being in prison – like being treated like a dog.
"I made a complaint because they were giving us scraps of food.
"I said 'I've paid for a holiday and I want a holiday'."
What is the latest government advice on coronavirus?
The government has advised the British public to:
- Avoid pubs, clubs, restaurants and all social gatherings
- Cease all unnecessary travel
- Everyone should work from home where possible
- Mass gatherings and sporting events have been cancelled
- Avoid “all but essential travel” to more than 30 countries
If one person in any household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days
Pregnant women, those over 70, and people with certain health conditions have been asked to stay at home for 12 weeks
Schools will remain open
Mr Eaton, who is the chief executive of mental health organisation the Eaton Foundation, in Burton, says the pair have been told that they can leave on March 18, which was their original departure date.
He says the experience has also shown him "how serious Coronavirus is" and he thinks the UK’s approach to the virus has been "lacklustre".
He said: "We could tell Malta was taking it much more seriously than the UK straight away.
"I think our approach in the UK is very lacklustre.
"I was very much under the impression that people were being touchy and overreacting, but this is really serious.
"The problem is we know so little about it that we are just making assumptions.
"I think the UK needs to take this more seriously."
DerbsyshireLive have approached the Department for Health and Public Health England.
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