The Maltese Union of Midwives and Nurses has appealed to Prime Minister Robert Abela to not even consider opening any form of tourism this summer as its members were left shocked and angry after hearing about potential plans for the summer.
“This is purely a political measure from an economic perspective which can have huge repercussions on the lives of all those living on the Maltese islands,” MUMN president Paul Pace said.
“We are strongly appealing to the Prime Minister that considering any form of tourism at this early stage of the pandemic is a blunder, which can cost the lives of several of our loved ones, can break the whole health system and would still not boost the economy of our country,” he continued.
His appeal comes after Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said they were in talks with nine countries to begin opening “safe corridors” of travel between the nations.
This comes as there is massive pressure from the local tourism industry to begin re-opening key economic areas such as hotels and restaurants, with new policies easing restrictive measures set to be announced tomorrow.
However, the nurses union was not impressed by the plans.
“A few thousand tourists who could arrive in Malta this summer would not resolve the ailing economy but will just act as a catalyst for the second wave of coronavirus epidemic to occur on our islands.”
Saying any policies based on “politics, ideology and public pressure” would “end badly”, Pace noted the only reason Malta was able to obtain such a remarkable low death rate was because “the Maltese people paid a very dear price”.
“For two whole months, the very old and the vulnerable stayed locked in their houses, some losing thousands of euros due to reduced salaries, deprived of their families and their loved ones,” he said.
“Such huge sacrifices can easily be lost by allowing tourists arriving on our shores at a time when the pandemic is still far from over.”
The MUMN said a lot of work still needed to be done before Malta could re-open its borders and begin letting tourists back in, and appealed to the country not to take its hard-won successes for granted.
“Prime Minister, the lives of the people living on the Maltese islands depend on your decisions,” the MUMN ended. “Are you ready to take such a risk since in any pandemic situation, a simple bad misjudgement can lead to hundreds of lives being lost? Are you ready to take such risks?”
Cover photo: Ivan Bezzina