Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat recounted how COVID-19 restrictions meant his father-in-law Michael Tanti was denied certain treatment in an ambulance when he died last April.
“He had respiratory problems, was tested for COVID-19 and resulted negative,” Muscat said on L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa last night. “He died in an ambulance and we were told that certain procedures couldn’t be carried out on him because of COVID-19.”
“I’m not saying he died because of this, but he died in those circumstances”
He also recounted Tanti’s “surreal” funeral, in which only five people were allowed to attend because of COVID-19 restrictions.
With regards to the way the government has managed the pandemic so far, Muscat said it led well overall but made certain unnamed mistakes like all countries in the world.
He said it is crucial that schools remain open and isn’t concerned his daughters could get infected with the coronavirus.
“They could get sick with a thousand things. I’d be worried if my parents were going to school, because they’re vulnerable and not my children. It’s important that schools open and we shouldn’t close down the economy when there’s a surge in cases.”
However, he came out in favour of partial lockdowns, such as keeping elderly people at home, in the case of future COVID-19 surges.
“It’s an issue of common sense. Sometimes we go to extremes; first everyone’s locked inside and raiding supermarkets as though a war is coming and suddenly everyone’s dancing on the streets at marches.”
“Common sense must come from within; you shouldn’t look yourself inside but neither should you throw caution to the wind.”
He also predicted that while an eventual COVID-19 vaccine won’t be mandatory, the United States and some European countries will only allow vaccinated people to pass through their borders.
“At the end of the day, you’ll have to take it for sure,” he said, confirming that he personally intends to get vaccinated.
Muscat was Malta’s Prime Minister from 2013 to 2019, winning two general elections by record margins and presiding over a period of unprecedented economic growth. However, he had to resign in disgrace last December after murder suspect Yorgen Fenech implicated his chief of staff Keith Schembri in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.