Prime Minister Robert Abela has opened up about how Malta is reacting to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, what he sees as a possible future and how he thinks it isn’t right that his political opponents try to score political points during the crisis.
“To have people that are so insensitive that they try to capitalise on the fear that the Maltese people have right now, that’s something that can’t be forgiven, and it’s something that hurts me,” Abela said during an interview on ONE’s Pjazza. “It’s something that shouldn’t happen, and shouldn’t be happening at this time of national unity.”
“Let’s work together, when there’s merit to be given to the Opposition, I’m ready to give it – but they need to act much better than this,” he said.
His comments come after he received criticism from the Nationalist Party on a number of issues, including not “resting the minds” of Gozitans about the spread of the coronavirus as well as the government’s handling of the Ħal Far Open Centre and its subsequent quarantine.
He lamented how his comments were being used to score politicals points as his critics used them to “plant ideas that make no sense” at this sensitive time.
Saying that “fear makes you irrational” and there are “more beautiful days” for Malta right around the corner, he emphasised just how important self-discipline was for the future of the island right now.
“We have a health system that is showing us how strong and capable it is, and everyone is carrying their responsibility as a collective. It’s important not to just think of our health, but also the health of others,” he continued.
However, he didn’t rule out introducing more restrictive measures in the future if Malta didn’t follow health guidelines.
“I hope we don’t need to introduce more restrictive measures – but that all depends on how the people react to the given guidelines,” Abela said. “This is a time of sacrifice, there’s no other way to say it, and large sacrifices – and the result of this crisis depends on how disciplined we are with ourselves.”
“If we are not disciplined with ourselves now, the result won’t be good.”
Abela reminded the Maltese that the world hadn’t ended, and if the island was disciplined it would “find a better world” at the end of this crisis.
He reiterated his belief that it was a correct decision to not announce a total lockdown for Malta, saying that if he had announced a total lockdown a month ago when people had called for it, it would be much more difficult to now once again ask the Maltese to stay inside for even longer.