A Maltese flag or a colourful poster in support of healthcare workers hang at every corner on Maltese roads, but in Żabbar a three-storey mural with the same message has gone up at the playground.

It took mural and tattoo artist Justin Bonnici seven days to complete the tribute to the frontliners of the COVID-19 pandemic, in collaboration with his hometown's local council.

“Big-ups to these guys for their sacrifices and intelligence to keep us safe,” Bonnici said on his Facebook page once the mural, called Pandemic Heroes, was completed. 

The mural shows a healthcare worker wearing a mask and crushing a coronavirus with her hand. 

Known as Justinks, the artist told Times of Malta that he came up with the idea to create the tribute together with friend and Żabbar mayor Jorge Grech.

As a tattoo artist, he is one of those who were hit hard by the pandemic. Seeing that he had more time on his hands in recent days, he decided to pass on a message about "the real heroes".

"There are a lot of people trying to pass on opinion as fact. However, healthcare workers are the ones who have studied and trained hard for this kind of situation and are knowledgeable about the pandemic. 

"On one hand I hope this mural helps empower and encourage them further, and on the other hand I hope it will also act as a reminder of their work for years to come."

Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaPhoto: Mark Zammit Cordina

Healthcare workers have been touted among the heroes of this pandemic the world over, with several losing their life to COVID-19.

In Malta, by the third week of April, one in every 10 people infected with COVID-19 was a healthcare worker.

Over the past few days, three wards at Mater Dei were closed and disinfected as the hospital fought a spike in cases.

According to sources, the biggest outbreak was at ENT (ear, nose and throat), where at least 10 people, including healthcare workers, were infected, the sources said.

Healthcare workers are among select groups of people being routinely tested for COVID-19 in order to identify patients that may not be showing any symptoms.

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