Malta and its government seem to enjoy playing with yoyos. Each time we get our COVID-19 cases down to zero and our vaccination rates to among the best in the world, we fall into the trap of thinking we have beaten the virus. Off we go and open the airport, allowing the most dangerous types of visitors to come to Malta.
Most of this article was written the day before Health Minister Chris Fearne closed the language schools and stopped all travel except for people with double vaccination or accepting to stay in quarantine. Suddenly, the government pulled back the yoyo. The question is: when will they let it down again?
The British tourists bring the Delta variant with them whether they are vaccinated or not. With over 30,000 cases per day estimated to rise to over 100,000 a day, and allowing 60,000 to attend football matches in these pandemic times, England, under Boris Johnson, threatens to release the virus on its entire population and the world by letting go all restrictions today, July 19. And we invite them to come by, even recognising their local digital certificate instead of the EU one!
Secondly the language students. These, coming from whichever country they come, are usually under the age of vaccination and, therefore, more liable to be infected when they come to our shores. Then they do not abide by the rules of social distancing on the late night beach parties in St George’s Bay or illegal barbecues on the sand dunes of Golden Bay or on the crowded boats to Comino and the latest spate of increases in the number of infections in Malta prove that. They need to be regulated better.
Why are we so reckless?- John Vassallo
At 96, Malta would be at 19,000 had it been Germany and at 14,000 had it been France. Both these countries stand at 1,000 cases in Germany and 4,442 cases in France, both of which with five per cent and 30 per cent of the present numbers in Malta have still restrictions in place. This was before the language school shut down and the new travel restrictions.
Since then, cases jumped up to 179 last Monday, July 12; 154 on Tuesday, July 13; and 218 on Wednesday, July 14. At 179 cases per day, had we been Germany we would have had 35,800 cases and 23,000 had we been England or 27,000 had we been the size of France.
When will we learn? It’s true that with double vaccination most adults will only suffer lower effects of infection even with Delta but in the case of those who are unvaccinated or who get ‘long covid’, the effects of this yoyo politics will be paid in time.
Why are we so reckless?
By keeping stricter controls at the airport allowing only double vaccinated, plus 14 days from the second vaccine, and then imposing a PCR test with isolation until the result is obtained would be still allowing tourism but protecting us from the Delta.
Moreover, following what the UK is doing and what we may be tending towards, these rising numbers of cases will possibly give rise to new and even more virulent variants which could find their way past all vaccines we know of today.
And then? What will our great leader, who dreams of being best in the world, as all indexes of corruption, COVID-19, greylisting, Transparency International and press freedom tumble to the bottom, placing Malta among the most atrocious countries of the world, do? Play the yoyo again and again?
Will he give a press conference with flags all around him stating how proud he is to be Maltese, with silent ministers standing in a row behind him equally guilty, with questions asked only by TVM or l-Orizzont or One TV? Will he appear unshaven and in grey ashes to ask forgiveness of the population? Will he resign?