“I will be celebrating Easter alone with my wife – please do the same” – President of Malta

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

“This year I will be celebrating Easter alone with my wife. I am used to be surrounded by my children and extended family on this day, but this time it will be just Miriam and myself. Please do the same”. The President of Malta, Dr George Vella, made this emotional appeal while being interviewed on Newsbook Hour, on 103 FM.

Dr Vella insisted that although traditionally Maltese families gather to celebrate Easter – and that this was a beautiful tradition – this time round we had to avoid being together. This sacrifice will benefit all of society but ultimately will protect those closest to our hearts – our parents and our children.

The President also referred to the first two deaths related to coronavirus. While expressing his sympathy to the families of the victims, he appealed that this news should serve as a reminder of the importance of following the instructions being given by the health authorities.

These cases will not be the last ones, warned the President, who expressed his belief that the next two weeks will be crucial. He welcomed the fact that authorities were being completely transparent in sharing information with the public and this should incentivise us further to respect the directives being handed out for our own safety and so that we play our part in the country’s efforts to defeat the epidemic.

Dr Vella appealed that despite current restrictions we should make a stronger effort to take care of each other while making sure to keep ourselves active and healthy, even at home.

The President also spared a thought for those populations struggling with war while combating the virus, among them Syria, Libya and Yemen. He welcomed news relating to a truce in the Yemeni conflict but expressed disappointment that fighting in Libya seemed to escalate. Even worse, he added, other countries were now joining the fray, taking one side or another: “Everyone is considering their own interests, but no one seems to care about Libyans” fumed the President.

This situation was concerning to him not only out of the reciprocal respect that always existed between the populations of Malta and Libya but also as the aggravation of this conflict might lead many more people to seek to escape from the war-thorn country, adding to migratory pressures on our islands.

Before concluding the interview, the President expressed its appreciation to 103 FM for giving him the possibility to keep in touch with the Maltese public in these challenging times.