Over the past few weeks, Malta has been renowned for its less imposing COVID-19 restrictions, when compared with the other countries within the European Union. Following a consistent run of days where Malta was exceeding two hundred cases daily, and at certain times even three hundred, Government intervention was expected.
A press conference was announced and addressed by the Prime Minister Robert Abela, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci. In this media briefing, although it was stated that the vaccine was yielding the desired results, more restrictions are required in view of the rapid increases in daily cases and infections.New restrictions will remain in effect until the 11th of April. The main restriction which is expected to impact the overwhelming majority of the population is the closure of restaurants, kiosks and coffee shops, allowing them only to offer take-away services.
The current scenario
Whilst these recent restrictions may be reminiscent of those implemented a year ago, this is a totally different context. Although these restrictions will mean that most would need to spend their leisure time at home, there is a light at the end of the tunnel considering that on a daily basis, around two thousand people are getting inoculated. As we speak, around twenty percent of the Maltese people have received their first dose of the vaccine. The positive effects of the initial inoculations can be noticed by the fact that the mortality and hospitalisation rates amongst those over eighty have plummeted. As the vaccination programme continues, we would expect significantly less cases as herd immunity would be achieved.
The available vaccines serve as the main route in exiting this pandemic. At this stage, Malta is administering three different vaccines. These are the ones produced by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. All vaccines are being administered via two doses, and as expected this is quite time consuming. In the coming weeks, it is expected that European Union member countries will be administering the vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson. This has the potential to be a game changer, considering that it is a one dose vaccine. From a human resource point of view, this will be of a lesser burden, as it would fast-track the vaccination programme. Time will tell whether the restrictions announced till the 11th April will be enough to curb the virus spread. This circuit breaker approach combined with the vaccine efforts might be enough to kick-start a positive momentum. Let us know your views in the comments section below.