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As Gozo Channel Screening Abruptly Stops, PN MP Asks: Why, And Where Was The Announcement?

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Travelling to and from Gozo seems to have just gotten one of its longest-standing COVID-19 measures lifted… but you’d only know if you actually recently made the journey yourself.

“Without any words or fanfare, the screening which was happening to all those people travelling between the two islands has been stopped,” MP and PN spokesman for Gozo Affairs Chris Said in a Facebook post earlier today.

“The Gozo Minister has issued no statement on the matter,” Said continued. “During last Monday’s sitting, I asked the minister why the Gozo Channel stopped this service, and who decided to stop it.”

“Amazingly, he told me he wasn’t informed that the screening had stopped – and this despite the fact that, like me, he crosses between Malta and Gozo on a nearly daily basis.”

“When I asked him one more time, he shifted the burden of responsibility onto the Gozo Channel Chairman, replying with – ‘Ask Joe Cordina’.”

“If the time had come for this service to be stopped, I would’ve expected the government or Gozo Channel to issue a statement explaining the decision.”

Said later confirmed that, along with everyone else, he was not screened for each of the three times he crossed the Gozo Channel this week. 

People in the comments section who had recently made the trip up to and down from Gozo also seconded Said’s opinion, with some expressing their surprise at the measure’s abrupt halt.

“So when you go into a supermarket or a hairdresser, they take your temperature, but then they stopped it on the Gozo Channel,” one comment read.

“Please put the service back,” another person joined. “Who is the smart person who took this drastic decision? Please take action if you really care about Gozo’s residents.”

The mandatory screening of Gozo Channel passengers was announced nearly two whole months ago, on 31st March.

Coming into effect some days later on Friday 3rd April, the introduction of screening had come at a time when non-essential travel between the two islands was highly discouraged. Indeed, passengers could only pass for medical reasons, to transport cargo, visit relatives and for wor purposes.

Then, on 1st of May, it was announced that the above restrictions on non-essential passage were to be lifted. The wearing of masks, the maintaining of social distance and a restriction on the number of passengers allowed to board per ferry were however still kept.

What do you make of this? Do you think mandatory screenings of the Gozo Channel should resume, or was it time to end them?

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