Health Minister Chris Fearne was blunt in his assessment of the coronavirus saga in an interview published by The Sunday Times of Malta. These are five key points he raised.
1. The reality
Left unchecked, the epidemic will spike and practically four out of five of us will get the infection, a lot of us will need hospital, some of us will need intensive care. A few will not make it.
2. But... everyone in Malta will be treated
Some health authorities overseas have been so overwhelmed that they are prioritising those who have a higher chance of therapeutic success. Fearne says he is confident that the contingency plan now set in place means every patient in Malta would be treated.
3. The longer the better…
The minister insists that, paradoxically, the longer COVID-19 persists, the better, because the more the healthcare systems can cope with the demand. Ideally, we control this until we have a vaccine.
4. A nationwide lockdown?
The majority appear to be calling for a drastic lockdown, forcing everybody indoors. But Fearne insists that doing so at an early stage means people will start disobeying it when they really need to stay indoors.
5. ‘Normal’ will change
The virus has forced society to move indoors and air travel cancelled. With it, many have no choice but to start teleworking.
Fearne believes some of the changes will be permanent:
"The way we do business will change, the way we travel will change, our interactions with each other will change, our interactions with neighbouring countries will change."