Doctors say they will take industrial action if permits for mass events and parties are not cancelled by Monday.  

The Medical Association of Malta on Wednesday sent a declaration of dispute to the Health Ministry, threatening industrial action if a number of demands are not met.

It said that as from Monday, it will be directing its members to only perform emergency duties should the situation remain unchanged.

In their declaration, the doctors are calling for all permits for mass events of more than 10 people to be stopped with immediate effect and all approved permits withdrawn.

On Wednesday, Times of Malta reported how international music festivals drawing thousands of revellers from overseas are heading to Malta this summer.

Concerns about the large-scale events have increased in recent days, following a spike in COVID-19 cases linked in particular to a weekend-long Hotel Takeover party.

The doctors are also calling for all public health care facilities to revert to the “emergency mode” they had been in from March to June.

The union also announced that, with immediate effect, all doctors vulnerable to COVID-19, such as those with particular medical conditions, are only to work on administrative or tele-work duties and avoid contact with patients.

All other doctors are urged to help in work normally done by doctors in vulnerable groups and make sure that patients get all the necessary treatment.

‘Public emergency is not over’

The association took aim at a  declaration that the COVID-19 public health emergency had ended, saying all evidence now pointed to the contrary.  

All public health measures had either been repealed or reduced to guidelines not enforceable by fines, the union said.  

Repeated statements have also been made by Prime Minister Robert Abela encouraging people not to comply with the recommendations of Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci, they said. 

Abela, the union said, was also giving a bad example, with a concert and a mass political activity both recently held with neither social distancing nor wearing of masks.

Furthermore, the active promotion of mass activities by the tourism authorities, including Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli was creating “grave danger of a major and uncontrollable epidemic”.

This, the union said, posed a serious threat to the health and safety of doctors..  

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