Environment health officers insist on mass events ban, testing of arrivals

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Malta Environmental Health Officers Association is insisting that the government take immediate action to ban mass events, close clubs and bars and introduce mandatory testing on incoming travellers as soon as possible in the wake of the ongoing spike in Covid-19 cases.

The association noted that environmental health officers have been playing a key role in the war against Covid-19 for over 5 months under challenging conditions, including long hours, self-isolation from loved ones as well as changes in working environment, colleagues and duties. It declared itself proud of what they have achieved, but lamented that when it asked the government to be cautious when it came to lifting restrictions last May, it was ignored entirely.

Now that a second wave of Covid-19 has arrived, MEHOA said, the work environment of environmental health officers has changed again, with a drastic increase in workload to their detriment.

“Environmental Health Officers are limited in numbers, and they are putting their lives at risk to provide the necessary services to protect public health. With this second wave, our officers are also performing inspections till late night/early morning in establishments to ensure compliance with mitigation measures and wearing of masks, apart from checks on quarantined people,” the association observed.

Consequently, it urged the government to act immediately, but said that the increase also made the need to increase human resources or improve work practices in several areas evident.

“There is also definitely a need to ease our officers who are now feeling the stress of long hours of work for all these months. Genuine appreciation of our daily work is the minimum that one expects after all the work that has been and is being done,” MEHOA concluded.

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