President’s office mum on risk assessment for August Moon Ball

The Office of the President is dodging requests for the publication of a risk assessment which was supposed to be carried out for this year’s August Moon Ball held last Saturday.

Despite numerous attempts to get a reply from the President’s office over a week, including phone calls, emails and text messages, no answers were provided. The spokesperson finally reached by phone said she would talk to her superiors and never picked up the phone after that.

On 30 July, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that following the increase in COVID-19 cases resulting from mass events, every event hosting more than 100 people required a risk assessment.

It was also established that venues should limit the number of people to one person per every four metres squared.

This year’s August Moon Ball, an annual gala dinner organised by the President to raise funds for charity, was held on 1 August. In the days leading to the event, the number of new daily cases consistently stood at double figures.

Despite no photos of the event being uploaded to social media by the President’s Office, which is unusual, Facebook carried photos posted by citizens complaining about the lack of adherence to restrictions announced by the Health Authorities.

Vella, a medical doctor, made no public announcement to address public anger about the lack of adherence to rules as concerns increased about the spread of the virus.

Health professionals and members of the public have mounted pressure for mass events to be stopped. It led to a strike announced by doctors, nurses and pharmacists to draw the attention of the authorities on the risks being faced.

There could be 10,000 people still waiting to take COVID-19 tests, as swab centres in Malta are unable to cope with requests, with potentially infected people being told to wait for seven to 10 days while they remain unquarantined, according to the President of the Medical Association of Malta Martin Balzan.

We are facing problematic numbers started by mass events. The government’s main assets against the virus were the ability to track and isolate. Mass events make this process close to impossible,” Balzan told The Shift.


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