New COVID measures and higher fines for those that breach them may be introduced in the coming days, pending consultation with health authorities, Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne announced on Tuesday.
Mr Fearne made the revelation during a parliamentary address, facing criticism about Malta COVID containment and vaccination strategy.
This comes in the light of an alarming and record-breaking week, where daily new COVID cases reached new highs three times, to reach 336 new cases on Tuesday.
In the wake of spiralling cases, stakeholders in the health and tourism industry are divided on their response. Many of those involved in the tourism industry, including MHRA President Tony Zahra, have maintained that it is better enforcement, not more restrictions that is the way forward.
On the other hand, leaders in the health sector have been calling for urgent additional measures to combat the rise of COVID cases since January.
Most recently, the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine has warned that the intensive treatment unit at Mater Dei Hospital only has a “handful of beds left”, and calling for more measures, said, “unless [Malta] make sacrifices now, [it] will end up suffering even more”.
The Association points out that other countries have gone into lockdown in response to far lower rates of infection that there are now in Malta. However, it maintains that it is not advocating for a full lockdown, only the introduction of “stricter measures”.
Regardless of any additional measures, Mr Fearne warned that, for the next weeks and months, people must remain disciplined in terms of preventative measures, and the Government must ensure to it that this is the case.
Boosting heads in beds, does not correlate with an improvement in quality.
The Malta Tourism Authority will provide local councils with information about owners of holiday premises