Watch: Useless to be successful from a health point of view, if we retain restrictions – Abela

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Partit Laburista leader Robert Abela claimed that it was useless to be successful from a health point of view, if the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak in Malta are in place over a long period.

Speaking during an interview on the party radio station on Friday, Abela spent most of the time explaining how the government had come to declare the ports “unsafe” and therefore no landing of migrant rescue boats will be authorised.

Abela explained that the decision to close off the ports was a collective cabinet decision and warned that Malta might face repercussions. “We are at war with an invisible enemy,” he said on Friday.

The Labour leader brushed of criticism, saying that the government had been consistent. He traced government decisions in relation to migration and said that NGO boats were already prohibited from disembarking and should disembark migrants at their flag-state.

“If it wasn’t for the Armed Forces of Malta, there would have been thousands of landings,” Abela claimed. He said that there were boats approaching, however none will be allowed to enter. He also said that no migrants which were rescued by vessels operated non-governmental organisations were transferred to Malta.

Abela said that he understood that Libya was at war but there were “thousands” who wanted to cross over.

Rescued

Abela explained that the people that were rescued in the last 24 hours were already in Maltese search and rescue region. He explained that while the government’s cabinet was underway, the boat was already under Malta’s responsibility. The new decision with regards to irregular migration including the banning of disembarkation from NGO boats, the declaration of unsafe ports and lastly Malta communicated with other states that the country was not in a position to guarantee rescue.

Speaking about the people who were rescued, Abela said that they were swabbed and quarantined at the detention centre.

“Two crucial weeks ahead”

The Labour leader warned the public that unless they would like stricter measures to come into force as from Monday, they would do well to stay at home on Saturday and Sunday during the Easter weekend. He added that the two weeks ahead were crucial as he urged the public to remain disciplined and heed to the advice given by the health authorities.

Asked on how crucial it was to close this chapter and restart the economy, Abela said that this period will be measured on two points, the medical aspect and how quickly the countries’ economy recover. He argued that while the health care aspect might be successful it would be useless if the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus are in place over a long period which would impact the economy. He added that the economic recovery will also be a way to measure the success of a state after the pandemic is over.

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