Malta pathologists: politicians’ claims of no second COVID-19 wave are untrue

Disease experts say Malta has no guarantee that a secondary wave of COVID-19 will not palace

The Malta College of Pathologists has poured cold water over claims from politicians that fears about a spike in cases of COVID-19 cases or a second wave have been proven unfounded.

The doctors, who study the causes and effects of disease or injury, said such statements were “completely premature” and risk undermining the massively successful Maltese effort which reduced the impact of COVID-19 through social distancing and widespread testing.

“The most likely effect of such pronunciations by prominent politicians will be to elicit a false sense of security and weaken the resolve of the general public to persist with these efforts,” the MCP said.

Both Prime Minister Robert Abela and health minister Chris Fearne have either played down concerns of a secondary wave of a COVID-19 outbreak, or declared that Malta had won the ‘war’ on COVID-19.

“The College cannot emphasise sufficiently that Malta has no guarantee that a second wave will not take place. Indeed, if effective social distancing is not maintained, it is almost certainly a question of when, not if. One only needs to look the very recent experience of South Korea, a country with an impeccable response to COVID-19, but which has experienced breakthrough clusters of infections once it started to relax on social distancing. It is very clear from the screening statistics that the virus is present in the population and it will flare up again if the right conditions for its spread are provided.”

The College said it appreciated that a balance had to be struck between economic and medical priorities, however this can only be achieved by genuine and effective discussion between all parties.

“Any relaxation of measures needs to follow scientifically based international recommendations and needs to be staggered sufficiently to enable monitoring of cases of infection so as to be able to reverse any change that results in increased spread of infections.

“It would be truly tragic if unilateral political decisions, taken without seeking and incorporating expert medical advice, were to undo all the success achieved in controlling COVID-19 infections in our country.”

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