Prime Minister urges everyone to get vaccinated: 'We must not be arrogant in front of the pandemic'

Robert Abela urges everyone to get vaccinated, pledges environmental commitment and calls for civility in online discourse and election campaign as he addresses the nation

Prime Minister Robert Abela (Photo: DOI)
Prime Minister Robert Abela (Photo: DOI)

Robert Abela has urged people to get vaccinated but in his new year message, the Prime Minister also spoke of hope beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the traditional New Year's Eve message broadcast on the national TV station, Abela emphasised the need to safeguard the environment and stressed the importance of civility in public discourse.

On the upcoming election in 2022, the Prime Minister called for ideas to be debated and urged everyone to steer away from insults and taunts, which breed division.

“I am truly optimistic that our country will continue moving forward steadily, as a fair and ambitious society that addresses challenges and creates opportunities. We will get there as long as we work together in a spirit of unity,” he said.

In a marked change from the loose talk of last year, Abela said "we must not be arrogant in front of the pandemic" and urged people to get vaccinated with the booster shot and parents to inoculate their children.

He said the COVID vaccine was fundamental to keep society healthy, the economy afloat and social and cultural activities ongoing.

Abela said that although the pandemic is still around, “2021 presented us with hope for the future as we started to emerge from the harshest and hardest days of the pandemic.”

A shift in mentality

Abela referred to what he described as Malta's new priorities - the environment and quality of life. He referred to climate change as a "global threat", and pledged efforts to improve air quality, increase open spaces and enact smarter planning methods.

"We are not taking the easy road, as a shift in mentality is required for us to move forward. We must understand that in an effort to deliver a better future for our children, we need to take the right decisions now," Abela stated.

Higher standards

Abela briefly mentioned the "hard decisions" he had to take to ensure high standards were observed in public office. "The will to live by higher standards has to grow in each and one of us. Sometimes tough decisions that hurt are required to be taken. But I took them and will continue taking them keeping the national interest at heart."

The Prime Minister also called for civility in one's behaviour and discourse, and for hate speech online to stop. "We can change laws and enforce law and order, but the real power to stop hate speech lies in each and every one of us."