GWU calls for urgent meeting of social partners on coronavirus

General Workers Union wants a discussion on a national plan for the prevention of Covid-19 in Malta and other issues such as quarantine leave for workers

The GWU wants to discuss the impact the virus will have on the Maltese economy among other things
The GWU wants to discuss the impact the virus will have on the Maltese economy among other things

The General Workers Union wrote to the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) and asked its chairperson, John Bencini, to hold an urgent meeting so that the government and social partners discuss the coronavirus in light of recent developments. 

This echoes what another union, UHM - Voice of the Workers, said on Thursday, urging for a coronavirus commitee to be set up, which would include government representatives, including the Health Minister.

READ ALSO: Union says government should appoint urgent coronavirus committee

"The GWU is asking for a discussion on a national plan and strategy for the prevention of this virus in Malta, on the precaution of medical services in the event of an infection, on quarantine leave, and the impact this virus will have on the Maltese economy and the workplace," a GWU statement said on Friday. 

The GWU asked that this meeting be called urgently. 

On Thursday, the UHM blamed the government for a lack of national direction amidst the coronavirus fears and said that no employee should be made to use up his or her own leave as part of the auto-quarantine precaution suggested by the government.

The new coronavirus, known as Covid-19, was first encountered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and has gone on to affect over 80,000 people around the globe, causing over 2,800 deaths.

Covid-19 manifests itself in coughs, fevers, and breathing difficulties. Superintendence for Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, had said at a press conference this week that the best precautionary measure is to keep hands clean with water and soap.

The mortality rate seems to be about 2%, while the recovery rate is now at 93% although reports in Japan said that people who had initially recovered were testing positive again.

The outbreak has now spread to at least 40 countries. Malta is yet to report a case of Covid-19.

The World Health Organisation said that the outbreak is “getting bigger” after Nigeria confirmed sub-Saharan African’s first case, reiterating its warning that the virus could reach most “if not all countries.”