The Medical Associaton of Malta has laid the blame for the current ‘disastrous consequences’ to the economy and public health in the Covid-19 situation firmly at the feet of the “tourist industry lobby”, namely the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA).
In a statement, the MAM announced that it will be pausing all its directives for a week from Saturday, while expecting decisive action by the government.
“MAM must unfortunately register that all the consequences it had foreseen and publicly warned about are now materializing”, the association said.
They said that the Santa Maria feast which normally commemorates the end WW2 siege by the Malta convoy, may now be associated with “our darkest hour” as air travel is seriously limited in the COVID-19 crisis.
“The pressure by the MHRA on the Malta Tourism Authority and the government has led to misguided decisions and disastrous consequences on the Tourist industry and public health alike. Most EU countries have shown us the red card practically issuing Malta a ‘formal certificate of incompetence’, the MAM said.
“Opening the airport to high risk countries with no precautions whatsoever, the promotion of the delusion that “the war is over” and the completely irrational decision to actively promote mass events to irresponsible revellers created a lethal poisoned cocktail which the Maltese people will find very hard to swallow”, they continued.
They said that Covid-19 numbers are steadily rising, and that frontline health staff must risk their own health because of miscalculated decisions essentially based on a mixture of greed, false expectations and disregard of logical scientific advice.
The livelihood of both employers and of thousands of employees in the tourist sector is now at grave risk, they said.
“The government cannot afford to be ‘in denial’ of the grave situation, or look like a ‘dazed and confused’ boxer after a knockout blow with no sense of direction. It must recognise its errors and deal immediately and decisively to prevent further irreparable damage. It is now time to follow the advice of the experts in public health and be guided by scientific evidence”, the MAM continued.
They said that effective public health measures aiming to reduce the Covid-19 numbers in as short a time frame as possible are necessary.
“There is no place for partying, for discos, or clubbing in the thick of such an epidemic, when very sick people are presenting to Mater Dei. All events of more than ten people are the “root cause” of our problem and must be stopped immediately”, they said.
They added that if Malta is to avoid a lockdown, then strict social distancing, and widespread wearing of masks with very strict enforcement, preferably by the Police with on the spot fines is necessary.
“The Maltese people have shown great discipline from March to May, and government decisions must be based of the successful experience of that period.”