The government needs to declare a public health emergency, enabling the health authorities to take whatever decisions are necessary to tackle the surge in COVID-19 without interference by politicians, PN leader Bernard Grech said on Wednesday.

He was speaking after the authorities reported a record of 510 new cases on Wednesday.

Grech said the government had lost control over COVID-19 due to the irresponsibility of Prime Minister Robert Abela.

“He has been arrogant and stubborn. He has made irresponsible statements and the Maltese and Gozitan families are now paying the price of his bad decisions," Grech said in a media statement.

The current state of affairs, he said, was also the responsibility of every other minister who stood by Abela and did not confront him over his wrong doings.

He said that aside from the fear and uncertainty many are facing, the country is also seeing the ‘collapse’ of health services, with many medical procedures put off because the hospital is swamped by Covid cases.

He said a woman spoke to him about how her mother is not receiving cancer treatment because health services not coping. The same was the case for many other people. 

“At the hospital there is a collapse in the intensive care sector, the medicine wards and emergency services,” Grech said. 

He thanked health workers and frontliners, who despite the crisis, have continued to give their best service. 

“Whilst you are concerned about your loved ones and your businesses, the captain of the ship who steered us into this storm collapsed under pressure last week, and has now has disappeared,” said Grech, referring to Abela’s tense press conference last week.

Grech insisted that the prime minister should let the health authorities manage the pandemic on the basis of science and medical advice so that the numbers could be brought under control as soon as possible.  

“We need mature and competent politicians, politicians who decide with conviction and not with convenience; politicians who do not take decisions according to what suits them, but according to what suits the Maltese and Gozitan families,” Grech said. 

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