The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

Good measures but 'fake' enforcement will not reduce COVID numbers - MAM

Saturday, 17 October 2020, 07:20 Last update: about 6 days ago

The Medical Association of Malta said Saturday it takes note once again of the record numbers of Covid Cases accompanied by a clear and relentless upward trend of cases and hospitalizations.

Inevitably more intensive care admissions and deaths will soon follow. Unfortunately the Maltese people are yet to see the worst of this epidemic, the union said.

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The government attitude of “business as usual” and the illusion of “fake” normality, promoted by the prime minister himself, has clearly backfired and led to record after record of cases. Both the health of the Maltese people and economy have suffered enormously because of these blunders. The large uptake of the influenza vaccine while a good thing in itself is a clear reflection on how concerned the elderly are at risks to their health caused by these policies.

MAM welcomed some of the measures announced yesterday evening, which by and large reflected what it has repeatedly insisted on since August.  However it remains very skeptical and unconvinced on the willingness to enforce by the government.

Fake measures such as “crisps with covid” in bars and social clubs (kazini) have acted as superspreaders.  “Fake” or no enforcement, coupled with “fake” and pardonable fines have led to regular mass events in areas like Paceville and Valetta. Closure at 11.00 pm will have no impact at all, while the very low number of 800 fines in two months in does not augur well. Sadly both reflect the government is in reality unwilling to enforce.

Testing just 15 arrivals a day at the airport was another “fake” measure, meaning that possibly hundreds of cases are coming to Malta with Covid every week and remain undetected. Obligatory testing on all passengers who do not pretest before arrival should be introduced, if it is true that rapid tests are now available, however at a hefty price tag for careless tourists. To date the open door to cities with lockdown remains wide open, unbelievable but real.

MAM welcomes the introduction of obligatory mask wearing indoors.

Up to now the wearing of masks at the workplace was only obligatory for workers in contact with the public.  This “fake” measure had misled thousands of office and factory workers not to wear masks indoors. To date 90% of employees in Malta were under no obligation to wear masks indoors. After disastrous numbers of Covid cases arising in workers at their place of work to the detriment of their families, it appears that this blunder may now be rectified.

It is also essential that more telework from home is encouraged, MAM said.

This is the last chance for the Maltese people as after all it is only the Maltese people that can give hope in this situation. If these measures fail there will be no option left except lock downs and curfews as has happened in Spain, France and the UK.

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