Tourists on one of the first flights to land in Malta following reopening exit an Air Malta plane on Wednesday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier
One of the country’s top epidemiologists believes it is likely that Malta will see a second wave of coronavirus later this year.
Neville Calleja said most of his counterparts around the world are preparing for a spike in cases in the coming months.
“It’s likely that a second wave will coincide with seasonal influenza. Obviously peoples’ immunity has its ups and downs with winter making it worse. Logically, the same cocktail of conditions that predisposes people to getting seasonal flu, is the same cocktail that predisposes people to getting COVID-19. So it makes perfect sense to prepare for a second wave come autumn.”
Calleja was speaking on the latest episode of the #Timestalkpodcast.
His comments came as hundreds of tourists descend on Malta this week after the airport reopened to flights from a select group of countries on Wednesday.
Calleja is confident, however, that the countries selected are safe.
“We’re trying to only expose the Maltese to countries which have a similar situation,” he says.
The epidemiologist expressed concern at the number of people not adhering to mask-wearing guidelines and said debates about whether masks are obligatory missed the point.
“The directives are still active, which means people are obliged to wear masks,” he said.
However, he does admit that the government is partially to blame for confusion.
“There have been mixed messages, coming from different public sources which hasn’t been helpful to the public and I perfectly concede that.”
Also on the #TimesTalk podcast this week, we speak to some of the first people to arrive in Malta after the airport was shut for three-and-a-half months as they return home, or began their holidays on the islands.