The Nationalist Party’s health spokesman Stephen Spiteri said that it was paramount to ensure that admissions to hospitals be kept to an absolute minimum during the coronavirus outbreak, insisting that drastic measures – such as lockdowns – were necessary.
In an adjournment speech in Parliament this evening, Spiteri stressed that there was a limit on the number of high-dependency patients that could be handled by the health system, and that the ventilators which may be required by people suffering respiratory problems – a possible symptom of Covid-19 – were also limited in number.
As a result, the MP said, there was the need for drastic measures to keep social interaction – and the ensuing risk of disease transmission – be kept to a minimum. He said a lockdown was advisable, suggesting that intermittent lockdowns may be an option to give the health system a chance to recover and for staff to keep up with the outbreak.
Spiteri, a family doctor, also emphasised that primary healthcare should be kept in mind, as it might be negatively affected during an epidemic. In turn, this could increase the stress on the health system.
The MP recognised that the economic price of a lockdown would be steep, but warned that the price of a widespread epidemic would be far steeper, in economic terms as well as through the loss of human life.
“I feel that it is my duty to pass this message on to the government,” Spiteri said. “It is up to the government to decide, but I believe that it should follow this advice so that we do not go through the experiences suffered by other countries.”
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