[WATCH] New COVID restrictions depend on ITU and hospital admissions, Chris Fearne says

Health Minister Chris Fearne says the introduction of COVID restrictions does not only depend on the number of new cases but the situation in hospitals, which has so far remained stable

Chris Fearne visiting construction site for a new health centre in Paola (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Chris Fearne visiting construction site for a new health centre in Paola (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Health Minister Chris Fearne said the introduction of new COVID-19 restrictions depends on the number of hospital admissions and patients recovering in the intensive care unit.

Fearne had said earlier this month that the authorities are not excluding introducing more restrictive measures should new cases continue to rise.

“We are not only interested in the number of new cases, but also the number of people being admitted into hospital and the ITU,” Fearne said on Thursday while visiting ongoing construction work at a new health centre in Paola.

He said the ITU situation has remained stable, and hospitals still had a good reserve of beds and ventilators. 

“The important thing is not to strain healthcare workers,” he said.

Fearne called on people to remain vigilant and abide by safety measures announced by the health authorities. 

A growing number of associations and organisations have called on government to introduce more restrictions ahead of carnival weekend next month. 

Their concern lies in having a second surge of COVID-19 cases, after the increase in new cases following the Christmas festivities. 

It has been reported that farmhouses in Gozo have reported good bookings for carnival break between 12 and 16 February, despite renowned street festivities in Nadur being cancelled because of the pandemic.

Yesterday the Chamber of Commerce expressed support for any restrictions that may be considered, saying that as long as people remain in good health and avoid serious complications, Malta will see greater economic growth once the pandemic comes to an end.

Construct Furniture controversy

Asked about the controversy surrounding a private visit to a furniture manufacturer last April, Fearne reiterated there was no wrong-doing from his part. 

“Malta was never in a lockdown, and people had the liberty to leave their households,” he said. 

Fearne said that as the establishment had already taken his order for a new kitchen, he was not in the wrong to go and check on it. 

Pressed on whether he taught his actions were a bad example to people, given his role as health minister, Fearne insisted they were not. 

“I did not do anything more or less than what was expected by a Maltese citizen,” he said. 

READ ALSO: Chris Fearne denies wrongdoing in visiting furniture manufacturer during early stages of the pandemic

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