COVID-19: Specialists warn without closure of bars, restaurants and gyms infection rate will not reduce

Malta College of Pathologists says mandatory use of face masks without closing high-risk places will not reduce COVID-19 infection rate

Pathologists say mandatory use of face masks will not stop rise in cases if high-risk venues are not closed down
Pathologists say mandatory use of face masks will not stop rise in cases if high-risk venues are not closed down

The mandatory use of face masks without the closure of bars, restaurants and gyms will not reduce COVID-19 cases, the Malta College of Pathologists has warned.

The association said the method adopted by Malta was already tried and tested in Spain but without the closure of high-risk places it did little to stem the cases. Spain has reached one million cases and is one of Europe's worst hit countries.

The association said bars, restaurants and gyms were recently highlighted by the American Centre for Disease Control as being of greatest risk for the spread of the coronavirus.

"Half-hearted or superficial interventions will unlikely be effective in reducing the rate of transmission," pathologists said. "It is not surprising that many EU countries have understood that only an aggressive strategy, that involves targeted shutdowns of high-risk locations and prohibiting unnecessary congregations in all settings, is likely to stem the second wave."

The association said the longer authorities took to implement these strict measures, the more cases Malta will experience.

It also called out Prime Minster Robert Abela’s statements on Sunday, where he claimed that experts had foreseen thousands of deaths at the start of the pandemic but this did not happen.

“Contrary to what the Prime Minister said, no local specialists ever said that deaths in their thousands were expected and God forbid this were the projected scenario, seeing our population is only 440,000,” it said.

The association said that despite government’s claims that it is listening to experts, no suggestions are being taken onboard.

“Feedback from colleagues and the various statements from specialist associations, including public health experts, clearly demonstrate the opposite. Advice of medical experts is not being taken on board and this is precisely why the situation is spiraling out of control,” it said.

The college’s suggestion to government for setting up a committee of experts in public health, microbiology and infectious disease epidemiology, management and prevention, together with economists and social scientists who would advise on the COVID-19 pandemic, was also ignored.

111 new cases of COVID-19 were registered on Thursday, with two deaths being recorded. 

READ ALSO: Two new COVID-19 deaths

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