The Malta Independent 15 August 2020, Saturday

International Diabetes Federation blasts government for ‘foolhardy’ decision to hold mass events

Friday, 31 July 2020, 15:13 Last update: about 15 days ago

The International Diabetes Federation has blasted the government for its “foolhardy” decision to hold mass public gatherings and events scheduled in the coming weeks. 

In a letter to Chris Delicata, the President of the Maltese Diabetes Association, Professor Andrew Boulton – who is the President of the IDF – expressed “serious concern” at events planned in Malta for the coming weeks. 

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“This decision is extremely foolhardy from a public heath perspective and will put lives, particularly the lives of vulnerable groups, including the estimated 40,000 people living with diabetes in Malta, at risk”, Boulton said. 

IDF strongly urged the Maltese government to take action to prevent these events from taking place. 

“As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the lives of billions across the world and will continue to impact health systems, economies and individuals for some time. People living with chronic conditions like diabetes have been among those most affected. It is, therefore, of utmost importance that we make sure the authorities do everything within their power to protect citizens and follow the precautionary guidelines issued by the vast majority of health authorities worldwide, including measures to maintain social distancing”, Boulton wrote. 

“The evidence indicates that up to half of people who have contracted COVID-19 had diabetes and, in a number of countries, over a quarter of all deaths related to COVID-19 have occurred in people with the condition. If someone with diabetes develops a viral infection, it can be harder to treat due to fluctuations in blood glucose levels and, possibly, the presence of diabetes complications”, he added. 

It is critical for governments to recognise that people with diabetes can be more vulnerable to COVID-19 and put the right measures in place to limit the possibility of people with diabetes contracting the virus, Boulton said. 

The letter concludes that the International Diabetes Federation fully supports the efforts of the Maltese Diabetes Association and joins them in calls for the cancellation of all mass events at this time to limit the health risk to the general public and, in particular, to those most vulnerable to the effects of the virus. 

The government announced new restrictions on mass events on Thursday evening. The restrictions include capacity restrictions, with venues being able to accept only the equivalent of one person for every four square metres, social distancing regulations, and also the banning of feast marches.  Events of over 100 people need to pass a risk assessment form to be held.



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