Update – Fearne addresses parliament – Nurses want urgent Govt action – MUT pushes for shift to exclusive online teaching

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Update 1805 – Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that there is the possibility of new restrictive measures in Malta, due to the recent spike in cases. Addressing parliament, the Deputy PM said that he spoke to medical professionals on the issue earlier in the day. Newsbook reports Minister Fearne saying that a single day’s figures alone were not a sufficient indication of anything, but it was nevertheless clear that the number of Covid-19 cases in Malta has been increasing in the past couple of weeks. Maltatoday reports that Fearne saying that higher fines for those breaching Covid measures, may be implemented over the coming days if deemed necessary by authorities. 

One News also reported that the Prime Minister Abela saying that he believes that there should be stricter fines end measures for those in breach, adding that the government is also going to increase the resources of the health authorities.

Meanwhile, during the debate, the Deputy Prime Minister rebutted claims by the opposition about the transparency on how the vaccine is being administered. Fearne said that there was a member of the Nationalist Party parliamentary group asked him to jump the COVID-19 vaccine queue.

Earlier the Nurses Union reacted to the record-breaking number of new Covid-19 cases in Malta, calling on Government to act urgently, warning that a lockdown could soon be the only solution. 

“The government is taking things too lightly. Yes, a lockdown should be used as a last resort but the way things are heading, we’re soon reaching that point,” Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses (MUMN) head Paul Pace said. Pace also announced that the third Intensive Care Unit started to be utilised due to the situation.

Meanwhile, the government has rejected a shift to exclusive online teaching as opposed to teaching in-person, the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) said. MUT president Marco Bonnici told the Malta Independent said that the MUT is closely monitoring the rise in cases and is concerned about how the recent spike will affect both teachers and students.

“The main problem we are facing is that the seven-day average of cases is very high, with 200 cases serving as the average last week”, Bonnici said. As a result of the soaring numbers, a high numbers of students and teachers are forced to quarantine, and replacement teachers are needed urgently.

While the MUT suggested shifting to online teaching, Government has rejected such proposals, insisting that schools should remain in person as much as possible, despite the rising number of active cases.

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