Living with COVID

The truth is that COVID has also altered our economic cycle, making the operation of the economy costlier and more difficult. The State has subsidised the deficit of operating businesses, but this cannot go on forever. 

The 291 registered cases of COVID positive registered yesterday are only the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds have been self-testing with home kits and when realising they are positive they have opted to keep the bad news to themselves. Others who have been in contact with COVID-positive individuals have chosen to keep it to themselves and continued mingling with their community at work or home.  

There is no doubt in my mind that there are triple the number of positive COVID cases around. Yet beyond the irresponsibility and selfishness of many, we really should be asking ourselves how this is going to really evolve. 

Most level-headed people have been vaccinated and have even had a booster. But that does not mean that one cannot get COVID when vaccinated. Indeed, a relative of mine has had the booster and still was COVID positive. It appeared like a bad cold, but thankfully, because of the vaccination, it has been nothing close to anything serious. For others who are vulnerable, the story could be very different. 

The facts speak for themselves. Those who are not vaccinated will not only simply get the virus but could end up seriously ill, even die.  

Politicians and scientists are telling us repeatedly that we have to live with the virus but if that is the case, then we need to move on and find the way forward – Perhaps not in the same way the UK has moved on, but in such a manner that allows one to continue functioning. We need to get out lives back and to bring back some normality. And with hospitalisations so low and mortalities even lower, the questions to ask is why do we need to continue treating this as a pandemic? 

Surely health minister Chris Fearne knows this and he knows that he cannot treat this only as a medical issue. That is why we have politicians to administer and outline policy, because politicians weigh all the options and look at the bigger picture. 

What is needed now is for the State to impose the obligation on the part of everyone to be vaccinated, and to hell with all the conspiratorial theories and so called human rights claims against vaccination. 

We can be the first nation come to terms with serious health standards and restrictions with an apparent return to normality. We need to be sure that people are respectful of others and know everything about sanitisation, but it cannot mean that we get stuck in a rut and do not live a normal life. 

As things stand today, we cannot afford to lose more time. We need to get back to work and have a meaningful life. We need to be able to sit around a table with our family, to be able to travel, to embrace friends and our relatives.  

The truth is that COVID has also altered our economic cycle, making the operation of the economy costlier and more difficult. The State has subsidised the deficit of operating businesses, but this cannot go on forever. 

Those who run a business, big or small, those who are self-employed, those who are doing part-time work, those who are freelancers, know how challenging these times are. It is not only a question of making money now, but of managing to keep a decent income. We need to get back into shape, we need to get back to life as we know it. 

And as in all things, the middle road is always the best way forward. But for that happen Fearne and the Abela Cabinet need to take bold decisions. 

Prisons inquiry 

Home affairs minister Byron Camilleri managed to deflect most of the shrapnel emanating from the conclusions of an inquiry instigated after a prison suicide, and one preceding the sudden departure of disgraced prison director Alex Dalli after yet another prison suicide. 

One cannot say that there was nothing positive from the inquiry. But the inquiry results should have been presented by the chairman of the inquiry himself, and not the minister. The minister should have stepped back and allowed the inquiry to explain their work and taken questions from the media. Instead, the whole episode was a highly choreographed session, where questions and answers from the media were not shown on Facebook or to the public. 

The political responsibility of many of the deficiencies highlighted in the system, including the failures of Alex Dalli, cannot be shouldered by Dalli alone. Camilleri as minister has a lot to answer too. Camilleri could not help reminding us how clean the prisons are and how drugs are allegedly next to inexistent inside Corradino, but that has nothing to do with the suicides that occurred over a short period of time under Dalli’s tenure. 

Former AFM helicopter pilot Alex Dalli will of course not be forgotten by the kind Labour administration, which will be offering him a suitable posting – which of course was not made public. 

Camilleri did announce a set of changes, all for the better, some of them more useful than others. Better late than never, but surely not ones that needed to so many suicides to see the light of day. 

Prisons and inmates may not come out tops in people’s minds; the guilty are talked about more than the victims, and the public has little time for dishing out sympathy to the wrong-doers. 

But this minister, like many of his predecessors, has procrastinated from sheer lack of political imagination. 

We live in a society that preaches human dignity and embraces a judicial system that looks at reforming people who have erred. If it did not, we would be executing people or sending them into exile. Most people are expected to return to society and not to stay for the rest of their life behind bars. We cannot forget that their incarceration must also serve to rehabilitate them and prepare them for the day after. 

Treating them like vermin is hardly conducive to their next stage in their life.  

A Happy Christmas to all, and happy holidays!