Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci has defended the lack of police action on packed political rallies for breaching COVID-19 rules, arguing that the focus must shift from enforcement to personal responsibility.
Interviewed on Times of Malta today, Gauci was asked a question that has been on many people’s lips throughout the election campaign – why was there no enforcement against political parties for breaching the rules banning standing events and can the health authorities be taken seriously when it comes to COVID-19 rule enforcement anymore?
Gauci responded that while the health authorities have “always been transparent and followed the science”, the focus has now moved to one whereby people should be “personally responsible for their own health”.
“Perhaps it’s the fact that people can see that the new Omicron variant has fewer complications and that vaccination has helped too, so they’re looking forward to more normality,” she said.
“We’re not after fining people but encouraging them to take care of themselves and to take care of their relatives and vulnerable people.”
“This is the way forward – emphasising on personal responsibility. In general, taking care of our health is our own responsibility and the health authorities are there to guide people, even in terms of lifestyle and physical activity. If you take care of your health and the health of others, it is your own responsibility and for your own benefit.”
In his inaugural address to the nation following last weekend’s election, Prime Minister Robert Abela pledged to remove all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, also calling for a shift towards a focus on people taking personal responsibility for their own health.
Malta is set to lift its official ban on standing events, one of the last remaining major COVID-19 restrictions, on 10th April, but there has been no confirmation so far about when travel restrictions will be loosened or removed, although discussions are ongoing.
Do you agree with this change in focus?