Vaccinated? Then it is time to lift the lid

If Malta has surpassed the herd immunity benchmark, and imposed obligatory vaccination processes, we should start to open up

Throughout this pandemic, most of the media took a responsible stance to emphasise the primary of health science in the management of the pre-vaccine COVID phase, and emphasised the importance of the vaccination campaign. Understandably, there has been some concern and trepidation about the country’s shutdown and its effects, but this has been overshadowed by the advantages of the vaccine and Malta’s rapid deployment and uptake.

The majority share this view, emboldened by the fact that many of us have taken vaccines in the past to fight off deadly viruses and with much proven success.

And thankfully, most of us have ignored the fake news and greatly exaggerated or ludicrous arguments from a minority who speak about “freedom” or the right to do what one likes with their body (apparently when it comes to vaccines, but not for women’s reproductive rights...), and conjure up the most egregious of ‘new world order’ conspiracy theories.

But the point one needs to make now at this very crucial juncture is that Robert Abela and Chris Fearne need to take some very tough decisions.

If Malta has surpassed the herd immunity benchmark, and imposed obligatory vaccination processes, we should start to open up. Health Minister Chris Fearne is constantly disseminating the latest stats of the numbers of vaccinated, but he is apparently reluctant to turn around to Charmaine Gauci and inform her that the country cannot be run solely by scientists.

There are inconsistencies, such as for example, imposing one set of rules for health workers and another for the public – a reflection of the divide between the political authorities and the health superintendence. For example, health workers who are vaccinated and are PCR negative after having been in contact with a COVID-positive patient are required to stay five days in isolation. The rest of the public is required to quarantine for 14 days.

A case in point was Chris Fearne, who had to isolate himself for 14 days because he was not technically a health worker. One asks whether every single decision can be left to the superintendence for health? The opening of our borders and the decision to impose a vaccination certificate requirement is a political decision. So if the high vaccination programme has not led to hospitalisation and deaths, then it is time we start to accept that we have to live with the virus.

And that will mean that Abela and Fearne must overrule Charmaine Gauci now on certain aspects of the pandemic management where the scientific consensus is not overruled by anti-scientific positions, of course.

We cannot simply have flashing tweets boasting of our herd immunity and at the same time retain rules which are suffocating the economy. Indeed, it is no laughing matter for the thousands of employers who need to generate enough business to sustain their salary bill.

But now the buck stops with the Prime Minister and Health Minister. Failure to respond will lead to a calamity in private businesses and great difficulty to operate beyond this year. We need to get back to business and to the normality we once lived – vaccinated, of course.

Those who embrace draconian measures that emanate from the Public Health Superintendence, especially given that health workers are allowed just five days of self-isolation, may probably be without a concern for the fate of their business or workers... maybe they have no idea of running a private enterprise, cushioned by welfare or a safe government job.

The vaccination was a key to normality: where is that normality, Prof Gauci? The sacrifice of lockdown must now be met by a pragmatist approach from the authorities.


Former Lovin’ founder Chris Peregin’s first imprint as chief strategist must have been Bernard Grech’s determined hand-on-heart declaration that once elected he would remove Malta from the FATF greylist in three months. Visionary indeed. And quite a boast.

That obviously would mean that not only would all the defaulters in tax have to dig deep and pay the Inland Revenue Department millions up front, but it would also mean that owners of properties, cars, yachts and luxury items would have to justify the source of their amazing wealth. It would mean that many audit companies would be telling their high-end clients that Malta is no longer in a position to cater for their needs... I wonder whether it would actually spell the end for Bernard Grech.

The Maltese – like so many others, and I say this a heavy heart – are motivated by their purchasing power and their freedom to avoid tax. I can only say that politically speaking, Grech would have been advised to say nothing before letting the whole thing play out and then blame the institutions that ‘want to bring Malta to its knees’. (I mean... should the IRD start a big tax hunt to placate the FATF, will Grech be the first to support it?).

I know, the Maltese psyche can be a bit complex to understand with its prejudices and hypocrisies. But here’s a listicle of Malta’s top ten hamburgers to entertain you while the PN sorts out its strategic direction.


The decision by The Sunday Times and Times of Malta to raise the price of their printed newspaper by 25c and 20c respectively is a reflection of the arrogance of a media organisation that believes it can ignore the writing on the wall. At a time when we are telling our readers to hang on, and buy our printed copy to sustain our media workers, and at a time when most readers are feeling the financial pinch, raising the price of newspapers is quite the misread.

The Maltese media houses have never been as united. We are fiercely independent of each other but in all fairness in the past we would follow The Times and raise our prices when they took the leap.

Those days are over: at MediaToday we are committed to our readers not to follow blindly and raise our newspaper’s price. We may be 21 years to the Times’s 80, but we cannot run roughshod over our readers. We want more people to buy the printed newspaper or its online, PDF version... but there is certainly a place for in people’s live for the special print newspaper on Sunday. We will keep working at making it accessible, relevant and agenda-driven. We thank you, the readers.