Healthcare professionals on Sunday called on the Prime Minister to publish the strategy and risk assessment he is following on the lifting of measures.

In an open letter to Robert Abela following his address on One in the morning, the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine said it was clear that his announcement of the premature lifting of measures was a unilateral decision, contrary to current evidence-based public health advice and to the advice of the Superintendence of Public Health.

The public health authorities had consistently explained how only a stepwise lifting of restrictive measures would safely transition the country to the new post-COVID19 norm. Allowing three weeks to pass between each progressive step to assess the effects and adjust accordingly was, and remained, the only way to ensure the country did not end right back where it started, or worse.

“A comprehensive risk assessment was prepared by the public health authorities to guide the transition process and gradual easing of measures. Unfortunately, the transition strategy and risk assessment has not yet been published by government.”

The association noted that the public health authorities’ expert advice on controlling the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak locally was heeded in February and March and it was only thanks to this collective effort and the sacrifice of the public and frontliners that Malta was in its current comfortable position.

“Ignoring this advice halfway through the transition risks undoing all the hard work and the sacrifices that the country has made over the past months and will ruin the peace of mind that is necessary to restart business and tourism.”

The association also expressed shock at the Prime Minister’s statement regarding an amnesty to people who risked the lives of others and were fined for not following the law.

“The long term, negative impacts of such an amnesty are incalculable. You are compromising the health of the public and undermining the effectiveness of all fiscal deterrents that may need to be put in place in the future for the common good. Waiving it all away would be populist, short-sighted, and irresponsible. Apart from this, for all the wrongfully charged persons there is a petition process, so there is no need for a carte blanche amnesty for everyone, which you are in no position to give as Prime Minister.”

The association told Abela he was morally obliged to follow the scientific and professional advice that was being offered by the public health authorities.
It called on him to publish the strategy and risk assessment he quoted to show that he was following this advice.
“COVID-19 is not behind us. COVID will remain an important aspect of our lives for months to come. We and other healthcare professionals will continue working hard to protect the health of the public while placing the common good first and foremost .This is the leadership we expect from you as our Prime Minister.”

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