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‘COVID-19 Is Not Behind Us’: Malta Association Of Public Health Medicine Accuses Robert Abela Of Compromising Nation’s Wellbeing

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The Malta Association of Public Health Medicin has accused Prime Minister Robert Abela of compromising the health of the public following news that the government plans to lift more COVID-19 restrictions.

Reacting to an interview with Abela this morning, the MAPHM criticised the Prime Minister for his “premature lifting of measures” arguing that it was a unilateral decision contrary to current evidence-based public health advice and contrary to the advice of Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci.

“The public health authorities have consistently explained how only a stepwise lifting of restrictive measures would safely transition the country to the new post- COVID19 norm,” the MAPHM said in an open letter to the Prime Minister.

“Allowing three weeks to pass between each progressive step to assess the effects and adjust accordingly was, and remains, the only way to ensure that we do not end up right back where we started, or worse.” 

“A comprehensive risk assessment was prepared by the public health authorities to guide the transition process and gradual easing of measures. Unfortunately, the transition strategy and risk assessment has not yet been published by the Government.”

Early today, Abela said that the government will announce the lifting of more COVID-19 restrictions tomorrow which is expected to include the reopening of bars and gyms from Friday 5th June.

“Ignoring this advice halfway through the transition risks undoing all the hard work and the sacrifices that the country has made over the past months and will ruin the peace of mind that is necessary to restart business and tourism.”

Abela also announced an amnesty mechanism for COVID-19 fines which has proven controversial, to say the least.

“We are shocked by your comment about giving amnesty to people who risked the lives of others and were fined for not following the law,” MAPHM continued.

“The long term, negative impacts of such an amnesty are incalculable. You are compromising the health of the public and undermining the effectiveness of all fiscal deterrents that may need to be put in place in the future for the common good.”

 “Waiving it all away would be populist, short-sighted, and irresponsible.”

The MAPHM ended by calling on the Prime Minister to follow scientific advice and challenged him to publish the strategy and risk assessment that he is following.

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