Watch: Pensioners need a bonus to mitigate COVID-19 effects – PN

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Partit Nazzjonalista urged the government to consider giving a bonus to pensioners in order to alleviate the financial burden which is being placed on them due to increase in expenses amid the coronavirus outbreak in Malta.

In a press conference addressed by Deputy Leader David Agius flanked by Opposition MPs Maria Deguara and Ivan Bartolo, the Opposition expressed its condolences with the families of the three individuals who died after contracting the coronavirus. It thanked the health authorities for their sterling work.

Addressing the press conference, Agius said that the party welcomed the government’s instruction asking those aged over 65 and vulnerable individuals to remain home during the pandemic in order to minimize the risks of contracting the virus. He added that the party acknowledged that there was a higher risk for these individuals and that the Opposition would agree on any decision which is taken in order to save lives.

The Deputy Leader and MP urged the public to abide by the instructions being given out by the health authorities. He maintained that however, the Opposition had a role to present its own recommendations and scrutinize the government’s work during such a sensitive period. He expressed dismay that the Government was not open to the proposals being put forward by the Opposition.

Agius said that the party was consulting with various individuals who were laid off and therefore have ended up in a situation with no income. He highlighted that many of those who have spoken to the party could not make ends meet. Agius reiterated a call put forward by the Opposition to half utility bills.

Agius said that the Opposition will continue to monitor the situation on the delivery of medicines and essential goods to the elderly and pensioners at their homes. He added that they should not suffer shortage of medicine off the national scheme. According to Agius some elderly did not have the means to pay for basic sanitary items. He added that such bonus would alleviate the financial burden which the elderly were experiencing in this pandemic.

MP Maria Deguara said that around 67,000 individuals are aged over 65 out of which many suffer from chronic illnesses.

MP Ivan Bartolo said that many activists working with individuals coming from a difficult social background fear that more people will be made vulnerable.

On Tuesday, Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci announced 9 new cases. The total number of cases recorded so far in Malta is of 393.