Nurses pen COVID-19 appeal to Prime Minister: Do not reopen Malta to tourism

Nurses’ union boss Paul Pace says re-epening Malta to tourists is sure path to secondary wave of coronavirus infections

Paul Pace. Photo: Ray Attard
Paul Pace. Photo: Ray Attard

Malta’s nurses’ union has penned an appeal to Prime Minister Robert Abela to rule out any ‘safe tourism corridors’ in summer. 

The appeal comes after a vague set of proposals from the European Commission to plan for a ‘European summer’ appears to have been followed up by suggestions from tourism minister Julia Farrugia for some form of tourism from “safe” countries with a low incidence of the coronavirus. 

But Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses boss Paul Pace said he was shocked that the government could consider the option. 

“This is purely a political measure from an economic perspective which can have huge repercussions on the lives of all those living on the Maltese islands,” Pace said. “Prime Minister...  are you ready to take such a risk...? Simple misjudgement can lead to hundreds of lives being lost.” 

Pace said the union had written to Robert Abela telling him that considering any form of tourism at such an early stage of the pandemic would be a costly blunder, one he said would break the entire health system. 

“A few thousand tourists in summer will not resolve Malta’s ailing economy but act as a catalyst for the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic to occur on our islands,” Pace said. 

Pace said several warnings have been issued both by CDC and WHO that measures to reopen borders were not based on science but “on politics, ideology and public pressure. This is going to end badly.” 

Pace said the Maltese had paid dearly to achieve such a low death rate. “For two whole months the very old and the vulnerable stayed locked in their houses, some losing thousands of euros due to reduced salaries, deprived from their families and their loved ones.” 

Pace said this sacrifice would amount to nothing just to allow tourists in Malta again. “Even if tourists are swabbed upon entering Malta, it would not be no guarantee of safety.” 

The MUMN president said Malta’s success story in managing COVID-19 was being used as a marketing ploy but allowing tourists in could turn that same success story into tragedy. 

He said it was too early to allow the re-opening of public places for gatherings such as bars or museums where social distancing is impossible to maintain. 

“Malta is one of the few countries where contact-tracing, accompanied with the discipline and obedience of the Maltese people, managed to contain the pandemic which other countries despite harsher lockdowns did not manage to achieve. As a nation we should not take our success for granted.” 

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