The Malta Independent 15 April 2021, Thursday

TMID Editorial: Covid-19 - Good news… and bad news

Monday, 1 March 2021, 08:52 Last update: about 2 months ago

There were a couple of major developments regarding Covid-19 over the past week, one which is quite worrying and the other which raises hope.

The latter refers to the announcement that protocols and directives for relatives of people who are in elderly care homes will be released by 4 March, since all elderly care homes would have received the recommended 90% vaccination rate, Minister for Senior Citizens and Active Ageing Michael Farrugia said. This comes after Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that measures at elderly people’s homes were to be eased.


While the minister noted that there will be protocols so that the elderly wouldn’t be invaded with a huge number of people at every time of the day, this is indeed good news.

Throughout the entire pandemic, those who suffered most are the elderly. Those living in care homes have had limited access to family members and were, effectively, unable to leave. "By 4 March, all of the elderly homes – including private ones – would have been vaccinated with the second dose, so then we will release the protocols and directions to those family members to notify them when they can start seeing their elderly without the Perspex and hug them," the minister said. Physical contact with their loved ones is surely the one thing these residents missed most.

In terms of whether the elderly in such homes will be able to leave, the minister did not give a definitive answer, saying that discussions are ongoing with the Public Health regarding the elderly who can go out of the care homes. This will eventually happen, but it is unclear whether this will be one of the first new protocols or not.

The bad news is that the UK variant of Covid-19 is spreading. This variant of the virus is even more contagious than the Covid-19 we have witnessed so far. In addition to this, infection numbers are currently high.

The government is continuing to roll out its vaccination programme, having targetted the most vulnerable and frontliners first. This strategy will hopefully mean that there will be fewer deaths - given that the most deaths were elderly people, and that fewer medical staff will contract the virus.

At the same time however, just because vaccinations are taking place, it does not mean that we should ease up on Covid-19 protocols. As we can see, infection numbers are high, and the UK variant will further complicate matters. If at all, we should now be more careful.

In addition to this, we do not yet know haw effective the vaccines are long-term.

In order to improve the situation of the country, we must all sacrifice for a little longer, in order to bring the infection numbers under control. Essential business sectors in the island are still struggling, let us not settle down and think that all will be ok just because government financial support has been high during this period. Funds are limited and we must all work together to help control this pandemic.

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