Prime Minister Robert Abela has refused to rule out the possibility that Christmas parties will be allowed this year.
“What will happen in December will depend on the situation,” Abela said during an interview on L-Erbgħa Fost il-Ġimgħa tonight. “If we manage to control the COVID-19 infection and mortality rate better than we’re controlling it today, then we can reevaluate the situation. It’s too early to say and I want to be cautious and constantly gauge the situation.”
Abela’s comment contrasts with Health Minister Chris Fearne’s recent warning that Christmas parties cannot be held this year.
“Chris Fearne is speaking from his experience as a surgeon and it could be we’ll be in the situation he’s talking about, but we’re still in October so let’s see what will happen.”
“Safeguarding public health is our priority but I know people want to celebrate Christmas. My grandmother is 91 years old, she spends two thirds of her day in bed, but she still wants to celebrate Christmas as do I. However, we must ensure we don’t make mistakes when we’re approaching the finish line.”
Asked how close Malta is to the “finish line”, Abela said that we’re “close” and reiterated his confidence that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available in Malta in December or January.
Abela also harshly criticised New Zealand’s hard lockdown, suggesting its Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern might have wanted to bring her country’s COVID-19 numbers down as part of her battlecry ahead of the country’s general election, which she triumphed in.
“I’m very sceptical of the New Zealand model,” he said. “One must adjust restrictions according to their society and New Zealand’s society is different than ours, but more seriously its economy has entered a massive recession.”
“It’s truly scary and God forbid we had to pass through that kind of recession; God forbid it had to pass through my mind to push our economy into what New Zealand is going through.”
What do you make of the Prime Minister’s comments?