Plans for a prefabricated hospital that had been ordered at the height of COVID-19 fears have been suspended in light of “giant steps” taken in Malta over the last four months.
The hospital, which was set to treat up to 90 patients and feature six intensive care units, 70 ventilators and a mortuary, is now off the cards since all the beds Malta prepared for the pandemic have remained unused.
“We are literally looking for the coronavirus in every corner of the country,” Robert Abela said in a new interview with ONE. “From 500 cases, we are down to 90 cases – where else in the world will you find this? And all those beds we had prepared? All empty. Absolutely empty.”
“And this is an important point in light of the new measures. we will be announcing tomorrow. We took a decision in light of advice from Malta’s health authorities to not buy the prefabricated hospital,” he continued. “The advice we were given is that we do not need it.”
The announcement comes ahead of the expected lifting of restrictive measures tomorrow.
He said that while COVID-19 numbers in Malta had risen in the last few days, they came alongside a tripling of testing. “Therefore, we only had a marginal rise in cases in actuality.”
He continued on to call out the fear on social media over COVID-19, with people ready to condemn people who go out for a walk or go to the beach.
“We’ve always erred on the side of caution,” he said. “But we can’t keep everything closed, the country just waiting, until, say, there is a vaccine.”
“When I have to choose between the people’s health and the economy, I always choose health. But why should we punish people by keeping them in their home when the scientific evidence says we don’t need to? Practice social distancing, but we can’t tell people not to go to the beach, what logic is that?”