The Malta Independent 25 October 2020, Sunday

Watch: ‘I do not exclude anything’ – Fearne on further COVID-19 restrictions

Karl Azzopardi Monday, 12 October 2020, 12:54 Last update: about 13 days ago

Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the authorities are not excluding the chance of implementing stricter measures following the spike in COVID-19 cases.

Over the weekend, Malta saw its highest consecutive number of new cases with 100 being registered on Saturday and 95 on Sunday.

In turn, the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) reported that the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) in Mater Dei Hospital (MDH) is reaching its capacity.

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Following a press conference earlier this morning, Fearne was asked what the government will be doing in this regard.

“We have 7 COVID-19 patients in ITU this morning and it has been such for a number of days.  In March, April and May we provided structural training at MDH in order to have around 5 ITUs which we can use in the case of escalation,” he said. “We opened the second ITU in recent days in fact, and the hospital is keeping up.”

Fearne emphasised the importance of discipline and responsibility as pandemic fatigue starts to set in, even around the world; “a lot are feeling fed up with this situation and cooperation levels in a lot of countries has reduced.”

From the information the authorities have, the vaccine will reach Malta in the coming months, making it one of the first countries to get the vaccine.

He appealed for everyone to give their last push so that, hopefully, if everything goes as planned and the vaccine gets here in time and is available at the beginning of next year, Malta can start vaccinating people and recovering.

Asked if the authorities are considering further restrictions because of the spike in cases and ITU getting full up, Fearne explained that they are not excluding anything.

“When there are a lot of patients in ITU – and COVID-19 patients are taking a while in ITU – there is a lot of stress on ITU, and the authorities have had to reduce operations to keep up. Health of the people is priority, so I do not exclude anything.”

The Health Minister was also asked on the industrial action that the Malta Union of Nurses and Midwives (MUMN) took yesterday in administering the flu shot across a number of healthcare centres.

He said; “I understand that MUMN has a right to industrial action, but I think that the actions related to influenza are disproportional to what they are demanding, which is not related to COVID-19, influenza or vaccines.  So, I think there should be a separate solution while the vaccines keep going.”

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