Industrial action by Malta’s health professionals will continue for the second consecutive day after no agreement on mass gatherings was reached between the Medical Association of Malta and the government in an unfruitful eight-hour meeting at Castille yesterday.
During the meeting, the Superintendent of Health Charmaine Gauci proposed fresh measures and restrictions following the biggest surge in COVID-19 cases since the outbreak began in March.
Masks that were already mandatory in public enclosed spaces such as public transport, stores, the airport and the Gozo channel will be enforced with a €50 fine if breached.
Protective measures will be reintroduced for the elderly in care homes, including more tests for carers and visiting restrictions, in which visitors will be able to see care home members through perspex without physical contact.
Gauci also announced that two new swabbing centres will be opened to increase testing capacities.
Fresh restrictions on visiting will also be introduced to protect patients at Mater Dei Hospital.
In terms of smaller gatherings, Gauci explained that these will be permitted with a limited number of persons allowed. The amount will vary between indoor and outdoor places and is expected to be elaborated today in her first COVID-19 press briefing since early June.
In an attempt to ‘strike a balance’, the government proposed mass events of up to 300 people, which was shot down as absurd by the union. Another proposal to limit the number to 60 indoors and 100 outdoors was also refused, MAM said.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said that measures must strike a balance between the health and quality of life of the public. However, president of Medical Association of Malta Martin Balzan reiterated that the union stands strongly against any form of activity that involves a number of people until the number of new cases is contained to three cases per day.
Balzan warned that those who look to proceed with their wedding events should tread carefully as a large number of cases were found yesterday.