Emergency doctor appeals for non-essential construction to cease ‘immediately’

Emergency physician Jonathan Joslin made an appeal for construction around the island to stop “immediately” as a good part of households were on lockdown because of coronavirus – to prevent construction-related injuries from taking precious space at the hospital.

In a post on social media, Joslin said he did not understand how developers were allowed to start new development and construction works within village cores during the COVID-19 epidemic.

“Public health authorities are trying to enforce isolation within our homes especially for the elderly. The least the community expects is to be able to do this without construction and digging occurring next to their homes. One cannot even go out in (a) back yard (or) garden because of the dust and noise, let alone rest and recuperate if affected by the virus,” he said.

His comment triggered a huge response as people commented that this was a reality they lived in before the pandemic.

“Needless to say you are 300% right. You people are working your backsides off at Mater Dei and someone in (the) Planning Authority cannot see beyond the tip of his/her nose,” a commenter said.

“This was the situation even before this corona pandemic. Retired people (or people not working because they have babies) unable to get any peace in their own homes.. not for a month or two… but for years. As soon as one stops… another begins. Some unlucky ones end up dying in their own home too… when it falls about their ears,” another wrote.

Before the onset of the epidemic, the construction industry was facing a huge backlash for the way it carried on without any checks and balances, which also led to the death of Miriam Pace, 55, who was in her St Venera apartment when it collapsed into an adjacent construction site.

Joslin said a large percentage of major trauma incidents handled by the Emergency Department over the past year resulted from construction sites. “(They) are a drain on our health resources which should be directed towards COVID patient management,” he said.

Construction should be stopped to ensure that no unnecessary risks were taken that could result in an Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) bed being taken up by trauma that was “avoidable”. 

“I propose that all non-essential construction should cease immediately,” he said.

Joslin was not the only person to comment on social media. Earlier this week, a woman put up a six-second video showing a set of alcohol bottles rattling against each other because of construction work taking place three blocks away.

“Not being served by construction at the time when we have to stay indoors!! No this is not an earthquake but construction effects from three blocks away! Everywhere is shaking!” she wrote.

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