The Malta Independent 15 April 2021, Thursday

TMID Editorial: Covid-19 - A false sense of security

Friday, 5 March 2021, 09:09 Last update: about 2 months ago

Health Minister Chris Fearne was correct to say, in Parliament last Tuesday, that one of the main reasons for the recent spike in the number of Covid-19 cases is a result of people taking more risks to exposing themselves to the virus.

Last Tuesday, Malta reached a record 336 new cases registered in a single day and the record was broken just two days later with 362. The number of active cases is now over 3,000.

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In the first months of the pandemic, the government introduced a series of measures which are much harsher than the ones we have in place now. And yet, in those first few months, the number of cases was quite contained and there would be panic among the people if more than 50 cases were recorded. Now, with the numbers being regularly in the hundreds, it seems that we are no longer so scared, in spite of deaths being reported almost on a daily basis.

The government is partly to blame for all this, in particular Prime Minister Robert Abela. He has thrown caution to the wind too many times. Before summer last year, he encouraged the people to enjoy the summer months, and we know what happened. More recently, he said that we would start to recover in March and go running in May but, again, he has been mistaken.

Abela and the government have given the people a false sense of security. Their bold assumptions that things will get back to normal and even giving deadlines when this will happen contrasts sharply with the restraint shown by other European leaders. This obsession that Malta should be the first country to recover is costing us dearly.

 Another contributor to the laissez-faire attitude by many people is the start of the vaccination campaign. Again, even here, the government made it seem that once people start to be inoculated, our problems would be over. It is not the case at all.

But, apart from the government’s mistakes in the way it sent wrong messages time and again, it is the behaviour of the common man in the street which has compounded our problems. How many times have we seen people walking in the street without wearing a mask, or wearing it wrongly? And how many times have risks been taken, especially by the younger generations, who have attended events which are banned by the Covid law?

We understand that there is Covid fatigue. We have been used to living in a free society, and the imposition of restrictions has affected our lives and lifestyle. We are not prepared to make sacrifices, even if they are for our own good.

Yet people have died, prematurely, because of Covid-19. And many others spent days of difficulties because the virus hit them badly. There are many who did not encounter any symptoms even when they had the virus, but then there were many others who suffered badly.

As we approach the first anniversary of the first Covid-19 cases recorded in Malta, let us be aware that the disease will not go away any time soon.

We need to show a better sense of civic duty towards others.

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