Fine of €50 for those who do not wear mask – two new swab centres to be opened

At the end of the meeting with the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD), the Prime Minister Robert Abela said that the Council agreed on a number of points with the exception of the Medical Association which does not want activities such as weddings to take place. In comments to journalists at the end of a meeting which lasted more than 6 hours, Dr Abela said that mass activities will no longer take place. The PM said that only weddings can take place.

The Supt of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, announced that face masks will be obligatory on buses, shops, the airport and the Gozo Channel ferry. Prof Gauci said that those caught not wearing a mask will be fined €50.

She said that protection measures for the elderly will come into effect with more testing of carers and restrictions to visitors who will be allowed to visit their relatives from behind a perspex to avoid physical contact.

In a measure to protect Mater Dei patients, Prof Gauci said that restrictions will be re-introduced for hospital visiting hours. In the light of an increase in the demand for tests, she announced that from next week two new swab centres will be opened.

Speaking about certain events which may be organised and which are not mass activities, Prof Gauci said that there will be a limit to how many can attend and will vary depending on whether it is indoors or outdoors.

Prof Gauci said that amendments to the law will be made today so that the measures can come into immediate effect. She reminded the public that quarantine is obligatory for all those who test positive and for people who have come into contact with someone who has Covid-19.

The PM said that with these measures, he feels that a balance has been struck between health and people’s quality of life.

The President of the MAM, Martin Balzan, said that the union is not just objecting to weddings but to any form of activity in which a number of people gather together, especially standing up.

He said that whoever organises a wedding should think twice because the number of new cases to be announced today is going to be very high. He referred to the decision by the Centre of Infectious Diseases in the US which has classified Malta as being a high risk country.

Dr Balzan remarked that doctors are very worried because of the increase in the number of cases. He said that this is no time for commercial parties because the first measure should be the protection of public health. He added that the directives ordered by the MAM at hospitals and health clinics will remain in effect.

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