Restrictive Covid-19 measures must be enforced, GPs say

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Restrictive measures aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus within the communities must be enforced by the same national authorities who issue them, the Malta College of Family Doctors (MCFD) said in a statement.

Malta continues to register a surge in coronavirus cases with 150 new infections registered on Friday. The death toll continues to rise, with the youngest victim to date, aged 46, losing his life on Friday.

The MCFD said that while it understood the reasoning for trying to avoid a partial lockdown for Malta, on the other hand it could not understand the scant enforcement of the restrictive measures.

“Restrictive measures issued by national authorities must be enforced by the same national authorities. The cultural and historical trend of a society that lacks discipline needs to be reversed if we are to get out of this pandemic together,” the doctors stated.

Restrictive measure currently in place are aimed to control the spread while avoiding that the country goes into a lockdown. To this end, the use of face masks is now obligatory as soon as one leaves their homes. Failure to wear a mask makes one liable to a fine. Public gatherings are prohibited while bars are closed until 1 December.

An education campaign targeting the elderly

“It is ironic that most schoolchildren, who are the least affected by COVID-19, are diligently wearing face masks, staying in bubbles and regularly cleaning hands and desks, whilst a substantial part of the vulnerable elderly, who are most at risk of COVID-19, are aggregating in groups in broad daylight without appropriate wearing of masks and without the recommended social distancing,” MCFD observed.

The Malta College of Family Doctors urged the authorities to initiate an educational campaign targeting the elderly which would explain on why and how they should safeguard themselves by taking the necessary measures.

‘Gatherings at home nullifies sacrifices’

While public gatherings are restricted and bars remain closed, the doctors voiced its opposition to social gatherings in private homes and other premises which in their opinion is a “blatant circumvention” of social distancing recommendations.

The MCFD noted that such practices are nullifying the sacrifices taken by owners and employees of small businesses which were forced to shutter down in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.

The doctors called on the policy makers to learn from their “mistakes” over summer when “they shot the country in the foot” by allowing incoming tourists to enter without requiring a negative test for coronavirus upon arrival and allowing mass events.

‘Health care system must be protected’

The MCFD also called for the health care system to be protected.

Several services have been either decreased or stalled. The doctors warned that Malta cannot risk having its health care system overwhelmed.

“Our country cannot risk to have the health care system overwhelmed, not only to maintain care of Covid-19 patients but to continue to provide sterling care to patients with all the other diseases which continue to exert their usual toll.”

The Malta College of Family Doctors ended by saying that it hopes that Malta’s Covid-19 vaccination program runs in a process smoother than the current vaccination program.

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