Coronavirus: Robert Abela speaks firmly on crowding in public places

Prime Minister Robert Abela has appealed for sacrifice and for people to avoid crowded places during this time

St Thomas Bay in Marsascala
St Thomas Bay in Marsascala

Prime Minister Robert Abela reserved some harsh words for congregating crowds at public places and appealed for people to give up some of their freedom to limit the spread of Covid-19.

At a press conference in Castille, Abela said that crowding in public places would render the government measure to close down schools redundant. 

"Last Saturday, at St Thomas Bay [in Marsascala], I saw a number of caravans and an infinite number of people. I understand that it's difficult to stay at home, but the point of closing down schools will be rendered redundant."

Abela was commenting on the number of summer caravans usually colonising the bay areas in Malta, particularly St Thomas Bay in Marsascala, and said that such excursions in already crowded public places were irresponsible.

"We're closing down schools and the reality is that our playgrounds are still full of children playing together and being close to one another," he said, fielding questions from journalists.

"I understand. I am a parent of a young girl, and it's difficult to keep her at home. One of the problems of a total lockdown in fact is that it's difficult to keep children at home, especially for a long period of time.

"But we stopped our children's education only for it to be rendered futile? This is a moment of sacrifice. There's no other way of looking at it. We either allow everyone to live comfortably and by extension allow the virus contamination to increase or we make sacrifices," he said.

Abela appealed for everyone to follow the measures being announced by the government for the purpose of containing the spread.

Earlier on Monday, Abela announced that a number of establishments, including gymnasiums, restaurants and political party clubs, will be banned from opening for business. The details will be published in a legal notice in the coming days.

He also announced that the fine for breaching the 14-day mandatory quarantine has been increased to €3,000 per day in breach.