The Malta Independent 27 February 2021, Saturday

Doctors give ultimatum to government: ban mass gatherings or face industrial action

Wednesday, 29 July 2020, 12:09 Last update: about 8 months ago

Doctors have given an ultimatum to the government, threating to take industrial action if mass gatherings are not banned by Monday.

The Medical Association of Malta on Wednesday sent a declaration of dispute to the Health Ministry, threatening industrial action if a number of demands are not met.

It said that as from Monday, it will be telling its members to only perform emergency duties should the situation remain unchanged.

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In the letter, the doctors call on the government to immediately withdraw all approved permits for mass events of more than 10 people.

The union said that, with immediate effect, all doctors vulnerable to COVID-19, such as those with particular medical conditions, are only to work on administrative or telework duties and avoid contact with patients.

All other doctors were urged by the union to help in work normally done by doctors in vulnerable groups and make sure that patients get all the necessary treatment.

The association also said that the state of public emergency which was lifted at the end of June is not over, and that Malta should revert to that state.

They said that Prime Minister Robert Abela had been encouraging people not to comply with recommendations from the Superintendence of Public Health.

The union said that the promotion of Malta’s mass activities by the government through the Tourism Ministry is a grave risk to the health and safety of doctors and of the public.

Calls for the banning of large-scale events have increased in recent days following a spike in COVID-19 cases, namely due to a cluster of cases linked to a weekend-long party at a hotel a week and a half ago.  That cluster is currently made up of 18 cases.

While the calls have increased, the BBC promoted Malta as a destination with major festivals taking place - much to the ire of many of the public.  Local party organisers meanwhile have taken matters into their own hands by cancelling the parties which they had planned for the coming weekend and foreseeable future.

 

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