Nurses have dug in their heels and insisted the country is not prepared for an eventual coronavirus outbreak, saying the government has not prepared enough beds or trained enough nurses.

In a statement, the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses said that there were serious concerns about the country’s coronavirus preparedness.

On Tuesday, the Superintendence of Public Health said that 350 nurses had received training on how to handle patients who test positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and insisted that there were adequate supplies of personal protective equipment to handle an eventual outbreak.

Further contingency plans were also in place, they added. The assurances came after the MUMN had said earlier on Tuesday that it would be backing nurses who refused to treat COVID-19 patients, as they had been “left in the dark”.

On Wednesday, the MUMN insisted that authorities’ reassurances had proven it right and that it was not true that 350 nurses had been trained.

“Yesterday’s press conference confirmed that the hundreds of nurses working in the medical wards in MDH, in the surgical wards in MDH, in the corridors of MDH and in relieve pool in MDH were left with no training whatsoever,” the MUMN said.

The union said that preparatory plans appeared to only include the ITU and IDU sections of hospital, meaning “Malta and Gozo is only prepared for 14 cases” of the virus.

“If an airplane or a cruise liner would result with more than 14 potential infected patients (as happened abroad were 100s were infected both on planes and on cruise liners) Malta would not have the facilities nor the nurses to attend to such patients,” it argued.

No cases of COVID-19 infection have been confirmed in Malta as of Wednesday morning.

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