Health Minister Chris Fearne has urged people not to remove their masks when speaking, arguing that this is precisely when they’re most effective.
“If you’re infective, you’re more likely to transmit the virus,” Fearne said on TVAM this morning. “When I see people wearing their mask and then removing it to speak… it’s not a good idea. It’s most important to keep your mask on when you speak.”
Malta’s mandatory mask-wearing laws allows the removal of masks during official public speaking provided that a physical distance of at least two metres is maintained between people.
Several Maltese politicians have made it a habit of removing their masks when speaking in public, including Prime Minister Robert Abela, whose mask-removing habits recently prompted a complaint by the Institute of Maltese Journalists.
Opposition leader Bernard Grech breached this rule when delivering a speech in Parliament last night, while Abela breached it in his reaction to Grech’s speech.
This morning, Fearne also urged people to dispose of medical masks immediately after using them and to wash their cloth masks at least once a day.
“You can’t wear it, leave it in your car and wear it again; you won’t be helping yourself and others,” he said.
Fearne urged people to maintain a sense of civic responsibility, warning that COVID-19 patients are dying and healthcare workers are getting tired with their increasing workload.
“The government can impose measures but ultimately we must all play our part so we can keep the situation under control in the winter months.”