Malta’s frontliners might have to wait a bit longer for a fresh round of applause this time round, as a number of the island’s doctors continue to come under fire for an industrial action launched following a worrying spike in COVID-19 cases.
In one of the more recent acts of defiance, a water treading marathon which was set to kick off on Saturday morning in Gżira and show gratitude to Malta’s frontliners has been called off… but it’s not because of fears of potentially spreading COVID-19.
The marathon would’ve kicked off at the Gżira Waterfront at 9am on Saturday, and was being organised by residents in collaboration with the Local Council.
The cancellation, Gżira’s mayor Conrad Borg Manché confirmed earlier today, came “as a protest against the doctors’ strike”.
The mayor’s announcement was met with positive feedback, with one person saying “that’s the way it should be”.
The Medical Association of Malta announced an industrial action yesterday which has affected elective surgeries, outpatient appointments, and community clinics.
An initial strike was suspended on Monday after talks with Health Minister Chris Fearne, but the union said on Wednesday that the council has unanimously agreed to issue directives.
“Malta is currently in the thick of a new epidemic caused by mass events which is leading to around 15 new cases per day amongst the local population, and has already caused Malta to be blacklisted by four EU countries,” the union explained.
“Rather than control the epidemic, the government of Malta, against the advice of the Superintendent of Public Health, has decided to forge ahead with multiple mass events including those for thousands of people. What all the other EU countries are strictly prohibiting, our authorities are doing exactly the opposite.”
MAM’s strike has not gone down particularly well with many people, however, and MEP Alex Agius Saliba even rubbished it all, calling it “insensitive”.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases in Malta continue to surge. With 267 current active cases as a result of a 8,800% increase in just 20 days, the country is very quickly approaching 1,000 total confirmed cases of COVID-19.