The doctors' union has welcomed the new measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, but lambasted the government's "fake" enforcement.

On Friday the government said that the wearing of masks everywhere except for home is now mandatory, and as from Monday, bars and clubs will shut by 11pm.

The new measures, announced hours after Malta registered a new record of coronavirus cases, was welcomed by the Malta Medical Association. However, the union said it was "very sceptical and unconvinced about the willingness to enforce by the government". 

In a statement issued early on Saturday, MAM said that the government's business as usual attitude and the illusion of "fake normality promoted by the Prime Minister" had backfired and led to record after record of new cases.

The health of both people and the economy had suffered enormously because of these blunders. The Maltese people are yet to see the worst of this epidemic, and there will soon be more intensive care admissions and deaths, the doctors warned.

“Fake measures such as ‘crisps with covid’ in bars and social clubs have acted as super-spreaders. Fake or no enforcement, coupled with fake and pardonable fines led to regular mass events in areas like Paceville and Valetta," MAM said.

"Closure of bars at 11pm will have no impact at all, while the very low number of 800 fines in two months does not augur well. Sadly this reflects the reality that the government is unwilling to enforce," it added.

MAM welcomed the introduction of obligatory mask-wearing indoors as it said that to date, 90 per cent of employees had been under no obligation to wear one indoors.

Up to now, the wearing of masks at the workplace was only obligatory for workers in contact with the public. This "fake measure" had misled thousands of office and factory workers to not wear masks indoors, MAM added.

"Following disastrous numbers of COVID-19 cases among workers at their place of work to the detriment of their families, it appears that this blunder may now be rectified."

The doctors warned that if these measures failed, Malta would have no other option but to implement lockdowns and curfews as in Spain, France and the UK. 

Obligatory testing on all passengers

Testing just 15 arrivals a day at the airport was another fake measure, MAM said, adding that there might be hundreds of undetected imported COVID-19 cases.

The MAM called for obligatory testing on all passengers who do not take a test before arrival and this should come “at a hefty price tag for careless tourists”.

“To date, the door to cities with lockdown remains wide open. Unbelievable but real.”

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