The MUMN nurses union has called for effective measures for the country to fight the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, including the postponement of non-urgent surgeries and closure of bars. 

In a statement the day after Malta saw the second-highest number of daily cases since the pandemic broke out, the union said the current measure requiring the wearing of face masks "is just a political measure with no scientific significance" for reducing COVID numbers.

It said the situation at Mater Dei Hospital is "very serious", especially when coupled with the flu and other medical conditions.

Claiming all beds at Mater Dei Hospital are full, it said the time has come to consider stopping all non-urgent (elective) surgery, the high price all Maltese had to pay for allowing bars and other entertainment establishments to remain open. Stopping non-urgent surgery would make beds available for the "huge" intake of medical cases.

Lack of respect for nurses

The union accused the government of lacking respect for nurses and other health professionals trying to cope with the influx of patients.  

"Allowing the country to run with no effective COVID measures demonstrates that the government is more inclined to appease the entertainment industry than the health professionals such as the nurses who are working under huge pressures," it said. 

Allowing tourists from high-risk countries such as the UK to come to Malta showed that the government was in denial of the consequences the Maltese were about to face.

"The government failed to prevent MDH from being overwhelmed with patients by allowing bars to remain open with no restraints such as curfews, as were imposed in other EU countries. This cannot be allowed to continue since MDH is at a breaking point," the union said. 

It said the numerous nurses on sick leave or in quarantine was compounding the shortage of nurses which the Health Division had failed to address. Nurses, it said, are exhausted.

The union urged the public to avoid going to bars and discos and to take all necessary precautions for their own safety. 

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