A family doctor has urged the government to be transparent in its strategy to lift COVID-19 restrictions, stating that people have a right to know how decisions are being taken at the highest level.
In a public Facebook post, Joseph Ferriggi warned the authorities have issued conflicting messages on the way forward and that this is baffling people.
“Within this pandemic scenario, there are two important factors – the medical curve and the economical curve,” he said. “These will never converge and meet, which is the optimum scenario, but unfortunately as time goes by they will definitely diverge. This is the biggest hurdle to overcome.”
“The medical authorities have the responsibility to guard the health of the nation whilst the government will have to decide on the economical future as this is causing hardship through loss of income and loss of jobs.”
On Tuesday, deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said it was “too early” to discuss lifting Malta’s blanket travel ban. However, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said yesterday that Malta is in talks with nine countries which have managed the COVID-19 crisis relatively well for the establishment of “safe travel corridors” to and from the island.
Farrugia Portelli’s declaration will undoubtedly please people in the tourism industry, whose jobs and businesses are on the line, as well as other businesses who are dependent on the tourism industry, which contributes an estimated 15% of Malta’s GDP.
However, it has angered the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses, which has insisted no tourists should be allowed at all this summer, warning that doing so could herald in a fresh wave of the virus which would result in several deaths.
Prime Minister Robert Abela is expected to make a statement on this issue by Monday.
“Yesterday the medical authorities, even when asked directly by journalists regarding the lifting of further restrictions, rightly answered that they need this week and the coming week to assess the situation and then decide,” Ferriggi said.
“At the same time, the Minister of Tourism is speaking otherwise. Obviously this cannot be taken as her personal opinion as probably she is expressing the way forward as seen by the politicians through the Cabinet.”
The family doctor said he has full confidence in Fearne’s judgment and appealed to the government to explain its decision-making process to the public.
“Since the medical and the economical curve will never converge but will probably diverge, l think it is the right of us normal people of the streets who will be greatly affected by such decisions, not only economically or financially but also socio-familial and health including mental health, to not only know the decisions but also on what basis they were taken,” he said.
“At least then all who are paid by the taxpayer will be some day accountable, as the norm in our country is that everybody seems to forget his or her doings and passes on the buck to the other!”