The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

‘Once you open the airport – you don’t live with it; you die with it’ – MUMN president

Albert Galea Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 09:30 Last update: about 9 days ago

The Presidents of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN), the Malta Hoteliers and Restaurant Associations (MHRA) have clashed over the potential re-opening of the Malta International Airport, with MHRA President Tony Zahra calling for areturn to normality and to not let “project fear take us over”, and Paul Pace stating that with the airport open one doesn’t live with the virus, but dies with the virus.

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The two Presidents were asked by The Malta Independent whether they stuck to their respective statements issued over the airport with regards to the opening of the Malta International Airport, which has been closed since mid-March as a measure to mitigate the importation of Covid-19 into the country.

MUMN President Pace stuck to the statement which the union issued over the weekend, where it stated that the tourism industry should remain shut.

Speaking with this newsroom, Pace first noted that the union was “hurt” by the Prime Minister’s statement on Sunday, where he seemed to dismiss the possibility of a second wave by saying that waves were only in the sea.

“He is the only Prime Minister in Europe joking about the second wave.  It is highly inappropriate, which shows that he isn’t taking it seriously”, he said.

“287 of my colleagues are in quarantine, and 10 have tested positive for the virus.  We are making a lot of sacrifices, so hearing the Prime Minister joke about a second wave was shocking for us”, he added.

Moving on to the airport, Pace said that the phrase of having to “live with” the virus has been said a lot over the past days.

“Living with it means that certain things cannot re-open; there is a red line, and one of them is tourism for this summer and another is the entertainment industry, for instance”, he said.

“Skipping that red line may not only ruin the entertainment industry, for instance, but it will ruin every other industry as well. Living with it means making sacrifices”, he said.

He said that this is not a case of healthcare professionals being against the economy, but noted that health authorities can only deal with so much when it comes to tourists.

He said that one cannot quarantine tourists or carry out contact tracing after that tourist returns.  He said that these are thing which prevented a major outbreak but which cannot be used for tourists.

“Living with [Covid-19] means having to make sacrifices. Once you open the airport – you don’t live with it, you die with it”, he said.

Tony Zahra's comments may be found here

 

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