The government is to announce measures on Monday to limit the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Sunday afternoon. 

The announcement was made in a social media post after a 'productive' meeting with Health Minister Chris Fearne and Charmaine Gauci, the superintendent of public health.

Earlier on Sunday Abela indicated that regulations would have to be issued to enforce social distancing.

The measures follow a spike of virus cases, with new cases reaching a record 72 on Saturday and 63 on Sunday.

In the weeks after the initial appearance of the virus on March the government had limited the number of people who could meet in groups. 

'We will see more hospitalisations' - healthworkers

The Malta Association of Public Health Medicine in a separate statement observed that Malta had gone from one of the countries that responded the best to the COVID19 pandemic, to one of the worst-hit countries in terms of having to deal with new cases.

"This past week, Malta registered the highest rate of new cases per capita in the entire EU. This means that people in Malta are currently at the highest risk of getting infected within the EU. Not only this, but we're also in the top 10 in the world.

"Whilst our leaders are behaving like we are still the best, and that there is nothing to worry about, our frontliners and our amazingly dedicated volunteers are burnt out and stressed having to work in the sweltering heat, over the
weekends, late at night, and away from their families wondering why on earth no one is listening," the association said.

"As a result of the numbers we are currently experiencing, within the next few weeks, we will see more hospitalisations, critically sick people, and sadly but inevitably, further deaths. This is all thanks to the failed experiment of stimulating the economy with tourists and parties which went against all public health advice, despite what the prime minister said this morning."

The association said the  three-week period between each transition phase was not followed, and Malta did not revert back to previous transition stages when the case numbers picked up again.

The prime minister could say all he wanted that he followed Public Health advice, but cherry-picking did not count it added.

"Whatever measures will be announced later on today, we are already three weeks late. Had we done more sooner, we wouldn't have reached this stage. We are still in time for targeted measures based on where our clusters came
from, but if we wait any longer, or if our measures are not far-reaching enough, things will get even worse."

Association lists needed measures

The association called for a declaration of a public health emergency and a stop to gatherings of 10 people or more.

It also called for closure of bars, clubs and parties, strict social distancing and use of masks and all travellers should be tested.  

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