Doctors’ union wants tougher COVID-19 restrictions, warns ITU almost full up

Medical Association of Malta criticises ‘absence of leadership’ as COVID-19 pandemic continues to spiral out of control 

Over the weekend Malta saw 195 new cases of COVID-19
Over the weekend Malta saw 195 new cases of COVID-19

The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) has called for tougher action to be taken by the authorities to control the spread of COVID-19, citing concerns over an “absence of leadership” while the virus continues to spiral out of control. 

In a statement on Monday, MAM said one last effort was necessary before a vaccine became available, calling upon the health authorities to come up with effective strategies and measures, similar to what is being done in Spain, France and the UK, to bring the epidemic under control.  

“With daily numbers close to hundreds, the Prime Minister cannot behave like an ostrich with its head in the sand and state that it is business as usual, while deaths continue to occur from COVID-19 every day,” MAM said. 

The union said that the Intensive Care Unit was nearly full up and that soon it would not be able to deal with the increasing number of serious cases. 

“Many more patients from younger age groups are being admitted to hospital with serious COVID symptoms every day,” they said. 

“The government must stop sending mixed messages that the epidemic is under control, grossly underestimating the gravity of the situation. This has encouraged many people not to take mask-wearing seriously, accelerating the spread of the virus. This does not augur well either for Public Health or the economy," MAM said. 

The union said the government needed to move away from populism and act firmly. MAM said that while it understood that people have become fed up with COVID-19 restrictive measures, according to the WHO there is hope that a vaccine will likely be available by the end of next year. 

Over the weekend Malta saw 195 new cases of COVID-19, with Saturday’s 100 cases being the largest ever a number of cases registered in a single day. 

MAM’s proposals: 

  • Obligatory mask-wearing in indoor places such as workplaces irrespective of social distancing; 
  • A stepped-up educational campaign on how to wear masks and why they are necessary;    
  • Better shielding of the elderly and vulnerable groups; 
  • Intensified enforcement of instructions and restrictions;  
  • Mandatory screening of travellers on arrival and a requirement for the production of a negative test result. Ban on flights from destinations where a local lockdown is in place; 
  • Teleworking and work from home where possible; 
  • More restrictive measures on non-essential services if the above fail. 

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