Health and economy working hand in hand, ministers assure

Għada Aħjar - Konferenza tal-aħbarijiet mid-Deputat Prim Ministru Chris Fearne u mill-Ministru Edward Scicluna

Għada Aħjar - Konferenza tal-aħbarijiet mid-Deputat Prim Ministru Chris Fearne u mill-Ministru Edward Scicluna

Posted by MaltaGov on Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

As Malta seeks to put the Covid-19 pandemic behind it, though a number of active cases remain, Health Minister Chris Fearne and Finance Minister Edward Scicluna assured that the situation was well under control.

Fearne and Scicluna held a joint press conference on Tuesday afternoon, in which they went over the economic measures announced by the government on the previous night.

The minister acknowledged that he was regularly approached by people who wondered, in good faith, whether the government was prioritising the economy over public health. However, he insisted that this was not the case, stating that the measures implemented by the authorities allowed the situation to be kept under control, and that their progressive easing helped ensure that the country stayed vigilant.

He pointed out that at present the disease’s R number in Malta was 0.6, which meant that on average, five Covid-19 patients would be expected to transmit the disease to three persons. This rate, he assured, was very low.

Fearne also said that the economic measures went hand-in-hand with the public health measures implemented in recent weeks.

But he also said that the country was well-prepared should a second wave of infections occur later in the year.

Scicluna hails unprecedented investment

On his part, Scicluna said that the government’s measures were seeking to lead Malta into the next phase in the ongoing situation.

A number of associations suggested that certain measures should have gone further, but Scicluna defended the government’s plans, stating that such critics “do not understand budgets”

He pointed out that Malta would need to justify its expenditure on EU levels, and that it could not afford to drive its economy into the wall.

Moreover, Scicluna noted that the measures implemented were extraordinary in their extent, when compared to past budgets.

He noted that the government increased its expenditure on discretionary measures slowly over the years as it strengthened its fiscal position, and that the government felt that bringing this up to €45 million was cause for celebration last year. Its expenditure on such measures, however, was much higher as a result of the measures announced on Monday.  

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