Doctors, nurses unions say PM’s talk of COVID amnesty was shocking and reckless

Doctors and nurses are concerned over lifting of more COVID-19 restrictions, insisting the Prime Minister's decision goes against the advice of public health experts

Doctors and nurses are concerned over the relaxation of more restrictions later this week
Doctors and nurses are concerned over the relaxation of more restrictions later this week

The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) has urged the public to remain disciplined and only follow the advice of medical experts.

The union said on Monday that it was concerned over the Prime Minister’s proposals to lift further restrictions, which it added went against the advice of public health experts and without the necessary scientific basis.

“MAM reminds the Prime Minister that there were three deaths this week and the situation may not be as rosy as he is stating. There is still community transmission which is likely to get worse once the tourist season opens,” the association said.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister said bars and gyms would reopen on Friday as more COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

The PM also sparked social media outrage, when he declared that people fined for breaching social distancing rules could receive an amnesty.

READ ALSO: Public health doctors pen strong-worded letter demanding that Prime Minister publish risk assessment to prove he is following medical advice on COVID-19

MAM said that numbers this week had been low because the general public had shown great discipline and responsibility despite statements to the contrary by politicians.

“Surveys have shown that people from all walks of life are trusting the medical profession more than politicians, and it is for this reason that the numbers have come down,” MAM said.

The association warned that rushing to reverse the measures which have kept the virus in check, places additional risk to health and undermines public confidence and may be counterproductive to economic recovery.

“The removal of fines for breaking quarantine, or social distancing rules is not what is expected of a responsible government. MAM believes in the rule of law and no politician should undermine the work of the police, of state prosecutors and the judiciary on any offence. There should be no rewards for those who are reckless and put other people’s lives at risk,” MAM said.

MAM said that removing enforcement of rules renders ineffective the tens of thousands of tests being done and makes contact tracing and isolation of cases very difficult. “This can lead to greater spread of the disease,” it warned.

The association said public health specialists in Malta had done a great job at controlling COVID-19 and deviations recommended by politicians represent an unnecessary gamble with the lives of the Maltese.

Prime minister’s speech ‘shocking and reckless’ – MUMN

Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) said that a small portion of the population had no respect for the sacrifices people had made during the lockdown, citing that now the prime minister had decided to provide them with an amnesty.

“An amnesty which is an insult to all healthcare workers and at the same time a betrayal for all those who respected the recommendations of public health. The Prime Minister’s speech yesterday on TV was not only shocking but reckless. Reckless to remark that the COVID-19 crisis is over, reckless to open the airport when current measures are still being evaluated and reckless to provide such an amnesty,” the union said. 

MUMN has therefore challenged the prime minister to publish the strategy on the easing of the restrictions for COVID-19 issued by the Superintendent of Public Health.

“The Prime Minister is being challenged since MUMN has no trust that the Prime Minister is following the recommendations of Public Health. Every measure requires at least three weeks’ period before other measures are lifted, but in this case, the Prime Minister is taking an opportunist approach at the detriment of the nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and other health care workers and all the elderly and vulnerable people.”

The union said opening the airport on 1 July puts vulnerable people, hospital workers and the elderly at risk.

“Instead of having a Prime Minister who encourages caution, social distancing and other important measures which can prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases, Malta has a Prime Minister who issues amnesties to those who broke COVID-19 measures, informs his people that COVID-19 is over which is a totally a false statement and does nothing to protect the health care workers, the vulnerable and the elderly,” MUMN said.

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