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Malta’s Frontliners Say Tomorrow’s Measures Must Be Postponed By Two Weeks: ‘We Are In The Second Wave’

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Two major unions representing frontline health care workers are calling on the government to postpone Friday’s lifting of measures by two weeks following a significant increase in the number of cases.

“A timely intervention is necessary to prevent a second wave which might have serious consequences for the health of the Maltese people, especially frontline health care workers and to the economy,” the Medical Association of Malta and UHM Voice of the Workers said in a statement.

Tomorrow, restaurants, beachside lidos, beauty salons, and a host of other commercial establishments are set to open their doors after weeks of shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, concerns are being raised that since the first set of measures were lifted last week, the number of cases has started to grow.

“Unfortunately today with 15 new cases, a second wave of Covid-19 Virus infections is with us and needs to be dealt with immediately and effectively.”

“Malta, with a high number of new cases and a trend which is on the increase, may soon end up with the worst new cases statistics in the Mediterranean and other tourist destinations. Fifteen cases in Malta are equivalent to 2,000 cases in Italy when in fact there were just over 600.”

“To reverse the trend, the MAM, UHM Voice of the Workers appeal to all interested parties to intensify their efforts to promote more discipline, more information, and compliance with social distancing and other hygienic measures as emphasised publicly by experts in Public Health,” the unions said.

Public health professionals yesterday also warned that Malta could well be at the beginning of a second wave and public announcements suggesting the country is on track to a return to normality are “dangerous”.

The MAPHM, whose President is Sascha Reiff, a lead at Malta’s COIVD-19 testing centres, noted that the average number of new coronavirus cases has risen in recent weeks and attributed this to the government’s decision to re-open non-essential retail outlets earlier this month.

The public health association said while it recognises the “devastating” social, economic and mental health consequences of restrictions, “things will only get worse if the outbreak gets out of control”.

Malta’s active cases currently stand at 125 after 15 new cases and three recoveries were confirmed yesterday.

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