Opposition leader Bernard Grech has called for the mandatory wearing of masks everywhere as an “initial measure” to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Interviewed on Xtra yesterday about his stance on the pandemic, Grech reiterated that he is against another lockdown but that more measures are necessary.
Although he didn’t outright repeat the PN’s recent call for the government to re-declare a state of emergency, he said he wanted to see more of Superintendent of Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci.
“I’m definitely against a lockdown and I agree that we need to keep living our lives, but we must also understand that we need measures, some of which have been proposed by social partners,” he said.
“I expect Charmaine Gauci to tell us more, including that we must wear masks everywhere and not only when we’re at a certain distance from each other.”
Ironically, the Opposition leader wasn’t wearing a mask himself when he made this statement.
“I want to see Charmaine Gauci more. They’ve hidden her, they’re even ignoring her advice.”
Grech criticised Prime Minister Robert Abela for downplaying the pandemic a few months ago, claiming he is under the illusion that “chanting Abracadabra can sweep problems under the rug”.
“I’d have told the people the truth last July. I’d have said that our economy cannot keep regressing, that we need to leave our homes and generate a feel-good factor, but that the pandemic is still out there so we must continue wearing masks and sacrificing.”
Malta has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent days, with a record 112 new cases confirmed yesterday.
Although the recovery rate from the virus remains extremely high, public health services are starting to feel the strain of a higher demand and there have been prolonged delays in testing and contact tracing.
Health Commissioner Charles Messina has called for mask-wearing to be mandatory everywhere except at home, while the Chamber of Commerce has proposed masks should be mandatory in all public places.
Health Minister Chris Fearne has said new measures to contain the spread will be announced in the coming days and pledged to step up enforcement of the current measures – such as the ten-person rule for public gatherings and the rule that bars should only serve alcohol if they also serve food.