The Medical Association of Malta has issued a statement calling on the government to stop all flights from northern Italy into Malta.
“Northern Italy is in lockdown yet flights keep coming – stop them now!” Martin Balzan, president of the MAM, said today.
“The Italian government has declared the region of Lombardy and 14 provinces in northern Italy as quarantine zone, where people are forbidden to travel unless they receive special permission. This was ordered because the situation in Italy is very grave with the epidemic spreading like wildfire to thousands, with hundreds of deaths and intensive care admissions,” he said.
His calls come after reports that Prime Minister Robert Abela and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne disagreed over the cancelling of all flights from northern Italy, and up to 16 million people in Italy enter quarantine. They also come after MAM called for the stopping of flights just yesterday, though today their message comes with renewed urgency.
“Italy is moving to the situation already seen in China where the only remedy was complete lockdown.”
Balzan said that Malta should learn from the mistakes of other countries and organisations who had so far “failed” to halt the spread of the epidemic.
“The three cases in Malta are the result of a family who travelled to northern Italy despite the advice not to do so. While this family was lucky to get mild illness, not everybody will be so lucky. They have created a grave risk for all the half a million inhabitants of the Maltese islands,” Balzan warned.
“For the above reasons, MAM appeals to the government to stop with immediate effect all flights from northern Italy and to order mandatory quarantine for flights from other cities from Italy. The soft approach is a proven failure, let us protect our country and not have to go into lockdown after thousands get sick!” he urged.
“Failing this, MAM is ready to take whatever measures are necessary to protect its members and the general public,” Balzan ended.