Stringent control required on those crossing over to Gozo

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Despite repeated appeals to ensure that everyone remains home and does not venture outside unless it is needed, many have crossed over to Gozo for a “weekend break” for Easter weekened.

Sources speaking to this newsroom remarked that the controls happening at Ċirkewwa terminal were not rigorous enough to stop individuals who were traveling to Gozo unnecessarily. “They don’t ask for any details. People just say that they’re working in Gozo or living there but no one verifies the information,” the sources told Newsbook.com.mt highlighting that the check points should be manned by the Police instead. Gozitans who have crossed to Gozo said that they were asked if they were from Gozo and were required to show their ID card.

On 31 March, Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri announced a travel ban on non-essential travel between the two islands saying that travel would be allowed in case of work, visiting of family members, returning to one’s residence, visiting patients who are receiving treatment at a hospital, and attending medical appointments in Malta.

On Thursday many Gozitans who work in Malta returned home ahead of Easter weekend. However an eyewitness noticed several cars with grocery shopping and luggage.

Many Gozitans have taken to social media to express their disappointment at the situation, noting that many families with a property in Gozo have crossed over to spend their long weekend there and clearly defying the instructions by the health authorities.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne along with Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci have repeatedly reminded the public to remain home. The appeal intensified over the last days ahead of Easter weekend with the authorities reminding the public that while one may not gather outside in groups of more than three individuals, the same applies in theory at home and discouraged against meals with the extended family.

Chief Nursing Manager at Mater Dei Paul Buttigieg noted how some completely disregarded the instructions and went out to sunbathe congregating at different beaches and by taking walks in the countryside. Buttigieg highlighted that healthcare workers around Malta and Gozo were working around the clock ensuring the best service and with a lot of dedication, however at the same fearing that they would contract the virus themselves. Many healthcare workers have left their family home in order to protect their families.

In his post, Buttigieg called out those who decided not to stay home saying that it was an act of selfishness. “We don’t need you clapping, we don’t want your food or singing, all we need you to do is to stay home and listen to the health authorities. We’re at a delicate time as the number of confirmed cases keeps rising. If you have any respect for yourself and those on the frontline, stay home,” Buttigieg wrote as he appealed for more police presence on the streets ahead of Saturday and Sunday.

Photos sent to Newsbook.com.mt show that people not only flocked to Gozo but gathered at Golden Sands and Għajn Tuffieħa. The photos show the car park full.

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