The Malta Independent 27 September 2023, Wednesday
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WATCH: Police shut down SiGMA Summit party over lack of Covid-19 control measures

Thursday, 18 November 2021, 12:09 Last update: about 12 months ago

A party held as part of the SiGMA Europe Summit in Malta on Wednesday evening was shut down by the police over a lack of Covid-19 mitigation measures.

The event was being held at Paceville’s Sky Club.

Sources said the police shut down the party at around 11:30pm. Guest singer Akon, had to cancel his performance as a result.

The popular singer was a speaker at the main event in Ta’ Qali during the day, where he promoted his own cryptocurrency Akoin, but was supposed to headline the evening party.

A video published on social media platform TikTok showed police advising partygoers to leave the premises, with the SiGMA logo on a banner in the background.  The person who uploaded the video lamented how she had paid for the party only to be kicked out by police after an hour.

Other images confirming that police had shut down the party were also shared to Facebook by different attendees.

This newsroom is informed that several companies had paid a significant fee to book a table for the party, and were subsequently not even let into the event because it had been shut down by authorities.

On Wednesday, The Malta Independent reported that the organisers of the event, which is mainly taking place at the MFCC in Ta’ Qali, were failing to follow the Covid-19 protocols set out by health authorities for major events.

This newsroom has been told that, following its story, the organisers are now enforcing Covid-19 measures at the main venue in Ta’ Qali.

Staff working at the event and visitors told this newsroom on Wednesday that Covid-19 certificates were not being checked, no temperature checks were in place and the wearing of facemasks was not being enforced.

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry, when asked about what Covid-19 protocols the organisers of the SiGMA summit are following, said that any event must follow the standards published by the Superintendence of Public Health.

“Currently, events in Malta are open only to fully vaccinated people, if they are aged 12 or over.  Permission for any event to take place is obtained from MTA,” the spokesperson said.

Various government figures, including Prime Minister Robert Abela and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri visited the event, boasting about how it had attracted thousands of investors and visitors to Malta. Footage shows that hardly anyone present was wearing a mask during their visit.

SiGMA Founder Eman Pulis (left), Prime Minister Robert Abela (centre), and Economy Minister Silvio Schembri (right) visiting the summit at Ta Qali on Wednesday.

Ironically, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci told TVM on Wednesday evening that it is important for people to wear their masks in public places when in groups of more than two persons. She also confirmed that social distancing rules for weddings are still in place.

Despite the apparent change of attitude by the organisers, it is unclear whether any government authorities have visited the venue. Enforcement falls under various entities, including the health authorities, the police, Transport Malta and the Malta Tourism Authority.

Incidentally, the SiGMA organisers are holding another conference on Medtech, or medical technology. That conference is taking place at the Hilton in St Julian’s. Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne was among the scheduled speakers on Thursday morning. Sources said that all protocols were being followed at this event, with temperature checks taken at the doors and all attendees wearing masks.

Questions sent to SiGMA on Wednesday remain unanswered.

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