Prime Minister Robert Abela on Friday said the Maltese government would be deploying more police officers in the streets to enforce COVID-19 restrictions.
Speaking to journalists in Brussels, where he is attending the European Council meeting, Abela said the general concern among the authorities was that people were not respecting the rules introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The island registered new cases daily and an increase of 112 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of active COVID-19 cases to 1,009, the highest since the pandemic first hit in March.
“We have to strike a balance between the economy and health. This is a very important balance in a situation that could last months.
“It is not just a matter of restricting or increasing restrictions but a matter of remaining sustainable in the short, medium and long term.’’
Abela said the government would also be encouraging the use of masks to protect the people who wear them as well as those around them.
He had previously ruled out any drastic measures as he defended himself from criticism that the government was not doing enough to curb the spread.
However, he admitted that there was the need for more enforcement of the regulations which were already in place.
He listed them as wearing masks in shops, on public transport and in private cars carrying people from different families as well as the limit on gatherings of more than 10 people.
The country’s total number of cases now stands at 4,160, of which 3,106 have recovered. So far, the pandemic has claimed 45 lives.
As the world is struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, countries including France, Italy, China, Russia, Britain and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the World Health Organisation, as of Oct. 15, there were 198 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 42 of them were in clinical trials.
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Obike Ukoh