Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 July, 2020 at 3:02 pm by Andre Camilleri
The Malta Federation of Professional Associations is concerned about the impact that mass events (political, secular and religious) are having on the number of Covid-19 cases in Malta. MFPA reiterates the message it has issued in previous statements. It believes that, although resuming economical activities is important for the country, authorities must ensure the balance between the health of the nation and the economy.
Opening up for tourism is not the same thing as promoting mass events. It is crucial to implement policies through an evidence-based approach, and to value what professionals are saying. An increase in cases will definitely not help destination management companies, the tourist industry and the government itself to promote our country as a safe destination. For instance, we should not be hosting mass events that were cancelled in other countries, merely to attract more tourists. We appeal for a sensible approach so that we can protect other segments within the tourism industry, which ensure a more constant support to our economy. Should the infection rate go out of control, the whole of the economy will suffer once again. We cannot jeopardise everyone’s sacrifices, especially those of front liners, earlier this year for a very small sector of the economy.
It is also worrying that festa related activities, such as band marches and street parties, are being organised. These attract large groups of people without respecting social distancing and other precautions. We are also concerned that large number of people are congregating inside churches before pilgrimages take place. We appeal to ecclesiastical authorities to ensure that social distancing and use of masks/visors in churches are practiced in all churches.
Politicians have a duty to safeguard public health, as much as to ensure a healthy economy. We must acknowledge that we are in “post partial lockdown period”, and not in “post covid-19 period”. Norms for all different economic operations and the population issued by the Superintendence of Public Health, which are still in force, should be publicly implemented by all, without regard to their societal rank. We should all set an example, whilst ensuring the credible enforcement of these precautions in society. The recent mass political activities, where those attending, including politicians and others addressing the event neither wore any masks/visors, nor observed the necessary social distancing, and resorting to frequent hand shaking, is very worrying and risky and also transmits to the general public the wrong message that CoVid-19 is now over. Once again, MFPA emphasizes the importance of unequivocal information to the public. Mixed messages are leading to individuals feeling anxious, insecure and afraid, exacerbating mental health issues..
The minimal recommendations constantly reiterated by WHO and the local Health Authorities, to wear masks, respect social distancing and avoid hand shaking and frequent sanitizing, should be respected by all. The MFPA represents a mix of professions from both the healthcare and economy sectors. It joins other organisations such as the specialist medical organisations, Public Health Association, as well as MFPA’s own organisations the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) and the Malta Chamber of Pharmacists (MCOP) who already issued statements asking the government to reconsider the present position on the holding of all forms of mass events. All member organisations are concerned and augur that all citizens realise the impact a second (and worse) wave may have on our country.
This statement is endorsed by member organisations of MFPA: Association of Podiatrists of Malta, Association of Speech-Language Pathologists, Chamber of Engineers, Dental Association of Malta, Kamra tal-Periti, Malta Association for the Counselling Profession, Medical Association of Malta, Malta Association of Occupational Therapists, Malta Association of Physiotherapists, Malta Association of Professional Conservators and Restorers, Maltese Association of Social Workers, Maltese Association of Youth Workers, Malta Chamber of Pharmacists, Malta Chamber of Psychologists, Malta Institute of Accountants, Malta Veterinary Association and Society of Medical Radiographers.