Economy Minister Silvio Schembri has advised against reintroducing harsh COVID-19 restrictions for an extended period of time, warning such a move could prove counterproductive.
“We’re often asked why we closed everything down in March and April but aren’t doing the same now, even though there are more active cases,” Schembri said at a conference about the government’s COVID-19 voucher scheme.
“Back then, the virus was completely new and the health authorities had no idea about things like its transmission period and recovery rate. They have more experience now, which is why there’s way less uncertainty now than there was back then.”
“We know that the longer you keep restrictive measures in place, the greater the chance that it will prove counterproductive and that people will end up not following even the most basic of rules.”
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Posted by MaltaGov on Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Malta’s COVID-19 cases have surged in recent days, doctors have warned that pressure has grown on Mater Dei’s resources, and the country is on the brink of reaching 1,000 active cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
However, unlike other European countries such as France, Spain and the UK, the government has so far been reluctant to reintroduce harsh restrictions, instead urging people to take responsibility for their own behaviour and follow the health protocols currently in place.
Prime Minister Robert Abela has also pledged to beef up enforcement.
“Numbers are rising everywhere but our health institutions are better prepared now than they were before. There are health protocols in place, we’ve given the Health Ministry a blank cheque and we’ve doubled our budget on healthcare, something we wouldn’t have been able to do had our economy not been strong.”