Restrictive head counts at mass events could be introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said on Wednesday. 

Farrugia Portelli said she was not ruling out limiting numbers amid fears of coronavirus spreading in large gatherings. 

She said the government was discussing “the way forward” with health experts following a spike in coronavirus cases this month. 

The spike occurred on the back of a ‘Hotel Takeover’ party and there have been concerns about further transmission of the virus when a number of large-scale parties are held next month.

Asked about this, Farrugia Portelli said it was “not a matter of whether these events should be cancelled or not”. 

Rather, she said, it was about striking “the right balance”, which would ensure that the economic recovery would not be hamstrung, while public safety was maintained.

Reacting to a threat of industrial action by doctors on Wednesday morning, Farrugia Portelli said the government is seeking advice from the health authorities. 

“Let us not forget that there were some who said we must go for a total lockdown during the height of the crisis - something which we did not do. There are different schools of thought in situations like this, and it is important to consult and try to strike a balance,” she said. 

Meanwhile, government sources told Times of Malta that talks were ongoing with a number of local major events organizers. 

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