During a highly charged press conference on Thursday afternoon where Prime Minister Robert Abela announced a raft of new measures – including the closure of restaurants, snack bars and kiosks with only take-aways being permitted, Dr Abela struck a decidedly defensive tone.
Asked by various journalists whether, in view of his previous remarks where the Prime Minister said he expects economic recovery to begin in March, he would excuse himself for the current situation Malta finds itself in, with spiralling COVID cases, Dr Abela forcefully defended the Government’s actions and support measures.
“The road to normality begins with bringing the situation under control from a medical aspect,” he said.
“I would excuse myself if Malta did not manage to be the country that procured the most vaccine doses per person. I would excuse myself if Malta was not the fastest country in the EU to vaccinate its people.
“I would excuse myself if I were not supporting all our businesses and workers. I would apologise if we did not provide the vouchers, the COVID wage supplement or incentives to businesses to continue operating. Despite all the challenges, some businesses still managed to achieve growth.
“Today, I came here and announced new restrictions along with support measures. Every decision we took was based on the circumstances of the day. What happens next week, next month, nobody can guarantee. Not even the experts.”
Dr Abela continued by saying he will expend every fibre of his being on seeing Malta return back on its feet.
“I want to see this country back on its feet. I want to see workers carry out their jobs normally, and I want to see business’ profits grow.”
“I will keep on working full force to see Malta return to normality, from all aspects – economically, health-wise and socially.”
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Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri notes that education and awareness are the best tools to combat such threats