Doctors union: ‘Fake enforcement’ of good measures will not reduce COVID-19 numbers

With infection numbers climbing steadily, MAM says the worst is yet to come, as it lambasted low numbers of fines, airport testing and the government's "business as usual" attitude

Face masks are to be worn at all times under new government rules
Face masks are to be worn at all times under new government rules

Malta is yet to see the worst of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) has said as it lashed out at “fake” COVID-19-related enforcement measures.

MAM noted the record numbers of COVID-19 diagnoses accompanied by a clear and relentless upward trend of hospitalizations. “Inevitably more intensive care admissions and deaths will soon follow. Unfortunately the Maltese people are yet to see the worst of this epidemic.”

The association criticised what it described as the “government’s attitude of ‘business as usual’ and the illusion of ‘fake’ normality, promoted by the prime minister himself,” saying it had clearly backfired and led to record after record of cases. 

MAM said it welcomed some of the measures announced yesterday evening, many of which it had repeatedly insisted on since August, but said it remains “very skeptical and unconvinced” as to the willingness to enforce by the government. 

“Fake measures such as ‘crisps with covid’ in bars and social clubs (kazini) have acted as superspreaders.  ‘Fake’ or no enforcement, coupled with ‘fake’ and pardonable fines have led to regular mass events in areas like Paceville and Valetta. Closure at 11.00 pm will have no impact at all, while the very low number of 800 fines in two months in does not augur well.”

Testing just 15 arrivals a day at the airport was another “fake” measure, it said, explaining that possibly hundreds of infected persons were coming to Malta every week and remained undetected. “Obligatory testing on all passengers who do not pretest before arrival should be introduced, if it is true that rapid tests are now available, however at a hefty price tag for careless tourists.”

The organisation said it welcomed the introduction of obligatory mask-wearing indoors. 

Up till now the wearing of masks at the workplace was only obligatory for workers in contact with the public.  This measure, which MAM also dubbed as “fake”, had misled thousands of office and factory workers not to wear masks indoors, it said. 

Teleworking from home had to be encouraged, added the organisation, saying it was the “last chance” for the Maltese people to avoid lockdowns and curfews as happened in Spain, France and the UK.

 

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