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Ban mass events, make testing mandatory for arrivals from abroad, Environmental Health Officers say


The Malta Environmental Health Officers Association has urged the government to ban mass events, close clubs and bars, and implement mandatory swab tests on incoming travellers as soon as possible.

Environmental Health Officers are frontliners who have been working almost around the clock in order to carry out inspections on those who are in quarantine or positive cases to ensure that they are in isolating at home as they should be.

“Since Day One, the Malta Environmental Health Officers Association was behind its members and is very proud of what our members have been through these five months to control the situation”, the association said in a statement on Thursday.

“Last May, we as MEHOA issued a press release in which we asked the government to be cautious in which regulations were to be lifted; MEHOA was ignored entirely”, they lamented.

Read more: Legal notice extends mass event regulations to bars, discos, nightclubs

Two months down the line, while the Environmental Health Officers continued carrying out inspections on the quarantined persons and carrying checks on the re-opened establishments to ensure the mitigation measures were adhered to, Malta is facing the second wave of Covid-19, they said.

“With the increase in numbers once again, the Environmental Health Officers have their work landscape changed again. Workload has drastically increased at the expense of the Environmental Health Officers and the other front-liners”, the association added.

They continued by noting that Environmental Health Officers are limited in numbers, and they are putting their lives at risk to provide the necessary services to protect Public Health.

“With this second wave, our officers are also performing inspections till late night/early morning in establishments to ensure compliance with mitigation measures and wearing of masks, apart from checks on quarantined people.”

With all this in mind, the MEHOA said that they are “once again urging the government to take immediate action such as banning of mass events, closure of clubs and bars and also hope that the mandatory swab tests on arrival to the incoming travellers is introduced as soon as possible.”

Furthermore they noted that with this increase in cases, it is also evident that there is a need to increase human resources or improve work practices in several areas such as swabbing and contact tracing as the backlog is evident, along with the need to ease the workload on the Environmental Health Officers, who are now feeling the stress of long hours of work for all these months.

“Genuine appreciation of our daily work is the minimum that one expects after all the work that has been and is being done”, they said.

The statement comes as Malta has 528 active cases of Covid-19, with cases continuing to increase significantly in recent days.

Original article found on The Malta Independent


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