The Health Commissioner has called out the authorities over "lax" enforcement of COVID-19 measures, urging for mandatory wearing of masks everywhere except at home.

"I am very preoccupied with the escalating number of coronavirus cases that has now reached alarming proportions," Charles Messina told Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci in a letter.

The number of active cases has gone up to 1,000 from just three in June, making it among the highest per 100,000 people in Europe, he said.

To make matters worse... people who have been in contact with positive patients are being refused swabbing until they develop symptoms, he said.

'Those with underlying causes were coping'

"The Health Ministry seems to allay its conscience with the often-repeated statement that those who died had other underlying causes. Those people were coping with their other underlying causes," he added in the strongly-worded letter.

The authorities have often come under fire for their continuous flagging of the fact that most COVID-19 victims in Malta had underlying conditions.

At least 45 COVID-19 patients have died since the pandemic reached Malta, and as of Thursday, there were 1,009 known active cases.

The Malta Chamber of Commerce and the Malta Union of Bank Employees are calling for strict measures, including the wearing of masks.

Prime Minister Robert Abela has meanwhile said that more police officers will be deployed on the streets to enforce COVID-19 prevention measures.

In his letter to Gauci, Messina said the Health Ministry was "only issuing recommendations which are to no avail. The situation is very lax wherever one goes, including at the ports."

'Fines should be paid within 24 hours'

He suggested that health inspectors should carry out surprise inspections, including at restaurants, and issue fines.

The wearing of masks should be made mandatory indoors, except at home, and also outdoors.

Police should fine those not wearing a mask, and fines need to be paid within 24 hours. 

He also urged Gauci to encourage teleworking and to reissue legal notices that "produced results in March".


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