Prime Minister Robert Abela has defended the decision to reopen schools next week, saying that most teachers have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking on Erbgħa Fost Il-Ġimgħa tonight, Abela said that making sure children physically return to school is a top priority.
“Health authorities have always stated that households are the biggest source of COVID-19 infections. That’s why we reduced the number of households meeting to two. It’s a question of priorities: protecting the elderly, education and health,” Abela said.
“A lot of teachers have taken the vaccine and workers in schools have had their first dose too. Children, while they aren’t vaccinated, are kept in their bubbles to keep safe.”
The Prime Minister added that as a father, he knows that online learning is not a substitute for physical lessons.
“With the right mitigation measures in place, I’m confident in our decision.”
Opposition leader Bernard Grech, who was also interviewed on the programme, said we must trust the advice of health authorities on opening schools.
“Malta’s health authorities say schools won’t affect COVID-19 cases. Children need education and parents need to go to work. If the government really has evidence of this, then yes I believe schools should open. I want to see sixth form students go back and university students too. Students are suffering – that’s a reality.”
Earlier today, Prime Minister Robert Abela unveiled a staggered plan for reopening. Schools are set to open their doors next Monday, while non-essential shops and services will reopen on 26th April.
Other restrictions will remain in place for now and the government will constantly re-assess the situation, with a particular focus on the level of pressure the pandemic is imposing on hospitals.
The target is for Malta to open to tourists and allow weddings to re-commence on 1st June.
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