Malta’s Prime Minister is feeling optimistic about the country’s progress in fighting the COVID-19 virus, saying the current outlook is “encouraging” ahead of summer with the island’s vaccination rollout is in full swing.
“We are looking towards a good summer,” Robert Abela said today in an interview with PL party media station ONE Radio.
“Each decision we’ve taken so far was with the proper scientific backing and after speaking to the relevant experts,” he continued, explaining that any restrictive measure taken were “bidirectional” so that they could be adjusted as need be.
However, he said he felt the frustrations of citizens and business-owners keen to see a return to normality.
“I understand all those still feeling the brunt of the measures, who have been telling us they want to reopen. ‘Thanks for the support, but we want to reopen’ – and I understand it. But our restriction removal will remain gradual as we do not want to endanger the tourism sector.”
Last year, Malta saw a major spike in COVID-19 cases mid-summer after certain measures, such as the closure of the Malta International Airport, were removed right before the popular travel season begun.
Looking back, Abela said that though some people might be feeling COVID-19 fatigue over one year into the pandemic, he urged everyone to follow the the experts guidelines, guidelines that had “scientific backing”.
Malta’s vaccination rollout has been underway, with it garnering international praise for having inoculated such a large segment of the population in a relatively short amount of time, which Abela commented on.
“The way this country has invested in the vaccine, we were already first in Europe, and now we’ve overcome the UK too,” he said. He then referred to the “naysayers” who had said the government would not obtain the vaccine by January 2021.
“This was true, we didn’t get it in January, but in December, even earlier than we said so,” he quipped. “But we did it because we were working at the EU level, by looking at what’s happening in other member states.”
One day after Worker’s Day, Abela said he recognised the resilience of the Maltese people, who he said had shown fortitude during these challenging months.
“People often ask my why I’m so positive. This is why – I see a resilient people, that no matter the challenges over these last few months, remained strong.”