The Medical Association of Malta has expressed its “disappointment at the amateurism and lack of foresight of the Ministry for Tourism” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise for the 11th consecutive day.
“Malta being on the UK green list was nothing but a poisoned chalice set for a rapid and devastating repetition of what had happened in Mallorca and Lisbon,” Martin Balzan, MAM head, said. “The UK not only exported the highly transmissible variant but is actively promoting mass events with an average of more than 20,000 cases a day. Most EU countries have taken note – but we have not.”
Balzan’s criticism comes after Malta found 55 cases of COVID-19 yesterday, a major spike that sent alarm bells across Malta following weeks of gradually and consistently decreasing cases.
Yesterday’s batch of 55 new cases was mainly made up of unvaccinated young foreign language students coming to Malta to study.
“The same mistakes done last year are being repeated, by opening Malta to tourist brackets characterised by unruly behaviour with high transmission and low vaccination rates. Herd immunity of 70% stops an epidemic only if there is no continuous massive seeding of virus from abroad,” he said.
Saying the MAM had advised the MHRA and tourism authorities to promote safe tourism with an opening only to vaccinated individuals who would be required to swab as well, they lamented unruly tourists coming to Malta and subsequently breaking social distancing measures on the island.
“With just 50 cases a day and a daily doubling rate of cases Malta will soon be on EU red lists in a matter of days, bringing the whole tourism industry down with a bang.”
“This is most unfair to the healthcare workers who once again must make personal sacrifices to treat these patients, but also to those whose livelihood is dependent on the tourist industry. This is also unfair to all those who have made great sacrifices to bring a return to normality,” he said.
Balzan called for a “quick change of strategy” promoting only safe tourism to Malta.
“MAM also strongly encourages all those who have not vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, because as soon as COVID-19 spreads from tourists to the 80,000+ Maltese unvaccinated residents the health care system will be put under great pressure once again,” he ended.
Do you agree with Balzan’s perspective?