The Malta Independent 25 October 2020, Sunday

Covid-19: Fearne signals that no further restrictive measures are in the works

Shona Berger Friday, 18 September 2020, 10:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne signalled on Friday that no further restrictive measures are in the pipeline, saying that we already have a number of measures in place.

He was replying to questions by journalists a day after the Malta Chamber said a brief period of heightened restrictions is urgently required to contain the recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

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These could include, the Chamber said, a further reduction in the size of public gatherings and the wearing of masks at all times outdoors.

Asked by this newsroom whether any new measures were in the pipeline, Fearne said a mobile contract tracing app launched today is a new measure that is being implemented.

The launch of the app comes at a time, he said, when Covid-19 figures are on the rise globally and a few weeks before influenza season starts.

“The most important thing is that we all do our part. This app empowers individuals to look after their health. Social distancing and mask-wearing remains highly recommended.”

Presser further on the matter, Fearne said the authorities have already introduced a number of measures, including restrictions on travel, mass events and public gatherings.

 “We have measures,” he said, adding that Malta also has a high testing rate, which gives the authorities a better picture of the situation, and also has an agreement making it one of the first countries to receive a vaccine once it becomes available.

Asked if Malta should go back to a state of public health emergency, the Deputy Prime Minister said this is the prerogative of Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci, with whom he is in constant contact.

Asked about the reopening of schools, Fearne said the authorities are doing everything they can to ensure that schools reopen in a safe manner. He added that keeping schools closed would have serious consequences.  He said further questions about the subject should be put to Professor Gauci, who is due to hold a press conference at 1230.

Asked whether he was worried about the rise in infections at care homes for the elderly, Fearne said community transmission will always reach certain groups, including the vulnerable and elderly. “We have said from the start that Covid can have consequences on everyone, especially on vulnerable persons like the elderly. We need to practice solidarity and sacrifice so that the elderly do not shoulder this burden on their own.”

He was also asked about complaints by the Medical Association of Malta about “inconsistent” messages sent out by the authorities since the start of the pandemic.

Fearne replied that the message has always been clear and consistent. “We have said from day one that people must practice social distancing and personal hygiene. Our advice on the wearing of masks has always been in line with the advice given by international health bodies.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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