Government must act swiftly to suppress the virus
Malta is struggling with rising COVID-19 cases. The Superintendent of Public Health has recently said that the ‘situation is serious’ and warned that the number of people being treated in hospitals has also increased.
The Government has to do more to curb the spread of the pandemic and if not hospitalisations will increase, deaths will follow and it will be blamed for not doing enough to suppress the virus. The economy will continue to take a hit and schools will have to operate fully on online learning.
Several steps are necessary to manage the current situation. The government would have to commit itself to maximum suppression, aiming to stop community transmission and keep the number of cases as low as possible. To support this, we all need clear and real messaging from the Government on the number of daily cases and tests as well as on how many cases are arising from hotspots. Most of all, we need transparency on the underlying data and blunt honesty from the authorities about the difficult position we are in.
Some have suggested that letting young people become infected might help boost immunity in the population. However, young people can also become seriously ill and can pass on the virus to elderly and vulnerable individuals they come into contact with. We have a collective responsibility to watch out for these members of our community and make them feel valued and supported by keep on following the guidance and changing our behaviour to avoid risky situations.
I believe new restrictions should be introduced and sectors that will suffer as a result should continue receiving economic packages. For those feeling hopeless in the face of this pandemic, science is giving us reason for cautious optimism. Mass testing or a vaccine might get us back to a more normal version of daily life. But these require time to deliver. In the meantime, the government must seriously act and make tough choices for the benefit of the country and its population.