Doctors’ union joins call for ban on mass events

Medical Association of Malta decries ‘nonsense’ policy of allowing parties with thousands in attendance

The MAM has joined calls urging the government to ban mass events in light of a spike in COVID-19 cases (File photo)
The MAM has joined calls urging the government to ban mass events in light of a spike in COVID-19 cases (File photo)

The doctors’ union has joined the call for mass events to be halted, after Malta experiences a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases,.

The Medical Association of Malta is appealing to the government to stop, with immediate effect, all mass gatherings, following the two alarming coronavirus clusters reported on Sunday.

“MAM fears that we may have not seen the worst yet,” the union warned.

MAM joins the Malta College of Pathologists and the Malta Employers Association in urging the government to put a stop to events involving large crowds.

On Sunday, 14 news cases of COVID-19 were registered, nine of which were linked to a party which took place at the Radisson Hotel in St Julian’s between 18 and 19 July.

Despite this, Prime Minister Robert Abela has played down calls to reintroduce measure to curb the spread of the virus, saying Malta would “remain open.”

The doctors’ union, however, said that it was to be expected “that the combination of opening the airport to high risk countries and the encouraging of mass activities was a ticking time bomb ready to explode.” 

“Decisions have to be taken based on sound scientific evidence and not on populistic considerations. In fact, to date travel insurances are not covering any medical expenses arising from COVID,” MAM highlighted.

The union condemned without reservation “the bad example given by the organisation of a concert by the Office or the Prime Minister, where absolutely no social distancing measures were taken as recommended by the office of the superintendent of public health.”

MAM also condemned the Tourism Ministry “for lobbying abroad to attract mass parties for thousands of non-Maltese after these have been denied permission abroad.”

To date none of the EU countries have authorised mass gatherings while, many member states are now considering stricter controls on air travel, including pre- and post-travel screening and quarantine,” the union underscored.

“While MAM understands that all those employed in the tourist industry have to be supported, high risk gambling with the health of the Maltese people is unacceptable particularly when it appears that an effective vaccine will be available within a few months.”

“The idea of political leaders telling the Maltese people that COVID is over and that they can do whatever they like with impunity is not acceptable to the medical profession. Organisers and politicians must realise that they become personally legally and financially liable should illness or death result from disease.”

For the above mentioned reasons, MAM said that if “sensible decisions to protect the health of the Maltese people are not taken”, it would have no alternative but to declare a dispute and order directives so as to protect the health of its members and their families from the dangers and consequences of illogical decisions, taken in name of profit and populism.