Doctors want weekend curfew in public warning that Mater Dei will soon reach breaking point

Medical Association of Malta calls for 9pm curfew and scaling-up of enforcement in hotspot areas like Paceville and Bugibba

People entering Mater Dei hospital are being tested for fever and given the all-clear
People entering Mater Dei hospital are being tested for fever and given the all-clear

The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) has issued a stark warning on the rising number of coronavirus cases, calling for a weekend curfew and stronger enforcement, as well as warning that Mater Dei Hospital may soon reach a “breakpoint”.

In a statement on Friday, MAM said it was “seriously preoccupied” with the “persistently high number” of daily COVID-19 cases, which average more than 150 a day.

As a result of this, the association said Mater Dei, particularly medical wards and the intensive care unit, could soon reach a breaking point and would not be able to cope with the flow of patients.

They also said contact-tracing had been lagging behind by several days, rendering it ineffective.

“While no lock-down was considered necessary, the Eurobarometer survey showed that 83% of Maltese are worried about possible infection with Covid – clearly the highest in the EU. It is clear that the vast majority of the Maltese wear masks and keep social distancing and follow the advice of the health authorities,” MAM said.

The association said it was therefore recommending a 9pm curfew from Friday to Sunday for at least two weeks, and scaling up enforcement on non-compliant establishments in particular hotspots such as Paceville and Bugibba.

MAM said the curfew should also be enforced on the two days following carnival Sunday.

MAM said it was also clear that the vast majority of Maltese wore masks and following social distancing mitigations and advice of the health authorities.

“However, a minority of people chose to have a good time and ignored preventive measures between Christmas to New Year, causing the number of daily cases to rise sharply by four times for a period of a few weeks.MAM has repeatedly warned that daily rates should be kept below 100 per day, otherwise the health care system might not cope with the load. That point is now dangerously close,” MAM said.

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