Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
All those travelling to Gozo will be screened before boarding the Gozo Ferry. Only screened passengers will be allowed to enter Gozo. The new measure was announced on Friday night by the Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri.
Another measure announced by the Ministry for Gozo is a ban on touristic boats. The service will be halted and will not be allowed to dock in Gozo.
In a letter sent by the Government to boat operators in Gozo, the government said that Gozitans operators will not be allowed to work. The new measure will not impact Maltese boat operators who take passengers from Cirkewwa or Mtarfa to Comino.
Minister Camilleri appealed to the general public to avoid unnecessary trips unless such trips are related to work, medical treatment or fall under ‘supply chain services’.
He explained that if someone had to test positive to the virus, a Gozo Channel vessel would have to be chartered to carry the patient to Malta in a safe and secure manner. He added that in case the situation escalates the government will then ensure that there are a number of isolation beds available at the Gozo General Hospital which is operated by Steward Health Care.
Gozitan employers and employees were urged to turn to teleworking. He then mentioned some other measures which were already in place such as disinfecting the ferry at night. He thanked Gozo Channel employees, the medical staff at the Gozo General Hospital and disciplined forces.
Gozo Channel chairman Joe Cordina implied that there are more drastic plans in store if the situation were to escalate.
‘We can’t wait anymore’ – Gozitan employees tell Minister
Members of the Association for Gozitan Employees in Malta met with Minister Camilleri on Friday night.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the association complained that the Minister for Gozo turned down their request for a meeting and directed them to the health authorities instead.
A number of challenges faced by its members were listed in the statement. The association underlined that the measures should take into consideration and give priority to the most vulnerable individuals either who are living with certain conditions, disabilities or pregnant women.
The association pointed out that most of the work carried out in offices in Malta could be done from home. It appealed that teleworking is implemented for the coming weeks and will continue until the virus persists.
Another proposal put forward by the association includes a limit on the number of passengers that can cross over to Gozo. It noted that since the ferry already operates a shuttle service, there could be more trips between the island with less passengers on board.
The association is also calling for special transport for all the Gozitan professionals working in the health care sector and members of the disciplined forces to minimise the risk of their exposure to the virus.
A proposal to disinfect the ferries after each trip was also made.
Speaking about quarantine, the association urged the government to offer financial support to those employees in quarantine rather than having employees making use of their personal vacation leave or sick leave.
The statement thanked the organisations and the Church for taking the necessary precautionary measures to minimise the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
If you want to be the first to receive the latest news on the coronavirus in Malta, download the Newsbook APP here.