Coronavirus: Cruise liner not allowed to dock in Malta

Updated 11:23 AM
MSC Cruises

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Maltese Government has just announced that the cruise liner MSC Opera will not be docking in Malta. An agreement has been reached between the two parties after doctors said they would take industrial action should the cruise liner be allowed to dock.

The Government stated that this decision was made after “misleading” information was spread by the media, causing alarm.

It then said that according to the information it has received, there are no coronavirus cases on board. The statement ended with an appeal for responsibility and maturity in statements made in relation to the virus.

Industrial action

Prior to this decision, doctors were ready to take industrial action should the cruise liner MSC Opera been allowed dock in Malta. This was said by the President for the Medical Association of Malta (MAM).

The MAM President Martin Balzan told Newsbook.com.mt that there is large risk involved should the cruise liner dock in Malta. This is because passengers were held in a quarantine following a passenger being tested positive for COVID-19. The quarantine occurred on Wednesday, in Greece.

Newsbook.com.mt contacted a spokesperson for the Ministry for Health about the situation. She insisted that questions be forwarded via email, and hung up.

Balzan said that he was told that the ship is not to be allowed in, but later got to know that it will still dock despite fears about COVID-19. He added that Malta would require international help should diseased patients disembark in Malta.

“Allowing cruise liner to dock would be an irrational decision” – MUMN

Paul Pace, speaking for the The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) said that it would be an irrational decision were the ship be allowed to dock.

He added that despite the fact that the UK has announced that the coronavirus is spreading, Malta is considering allowing passengers to disembark from a cruise ship on which there was an infected patient.

Pace insisted that no one cares for the public’s safety. He added that unfortunately, decisions such as these are being decided on by the central Government, and not the Health Authorities, or the Ministry for Health.

“The Government would be ignoring WHO recommendations” – Ivan Grech Mintoff

On his end, Ivan Grech Mintoff said that the cruise liner is on its way to Malta and is expected to arrive at 6pm. He said that the Government ought to deliver a final and clear message to the Maltese regarding the important of their health.

He said that should the Government allow the cruise liner to dock, it would be ignored the recommendations issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO).