Malta Beating Covid-19 (July 2020)
One of the few global conversation topics in recent months is how to best tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. One good test case is in a little island nation in the middle of the deep blue Med.
Malta has so far weathered the Covid-19 storm surprisingly well. It has had far and away the lowest number of tested cases per capita in the EU and with only nine deaths to date easily the lowest death rate. There are currently only twenty-seven active cases in a country of around half a million making Malta without doubt one of the choice countries for travellers.
Malta has a robust health system, which has often been ranked in the world’s top 10 over the past twenty years reaching a high of fifth in 2018. https://www.ecbasis.com/ This year, during the pandemic the Maltese had the highest trust in their health care system among the EU 27, in front of countries like Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Recently, Numbeo’s independent study of European countries found Malta’s healthcare system to be second only to top-rated France (International Living.com). In 2007, a new state-of the-art, public hospital opened in Malta called Mater Dei. Being one of the largest and best equipped hospitals in Europe, Mater Dei offers excellence in medical treatment and has further amplified Malta’s role as a leading nation in health care.
The Maltese people too have, for the most part, been exemplary in following the guidelines given them by government authorities. Businesses and retail outlets have quickly installed all required safety equipment and implemented health department guidelines.
But why has Malta fared so well during this Pandemic? This is a difficult question to answer and there are conflicting beliefs on Malta’s Covid 19 performance. Geography has likely had much to do with it. As an island it is far easier to restrict movement over borders and to screen visitors than say in countries such as Italy and Spain. The Maltese government was quick to stop travel to Malta at a time when many countries were still accepting foreign visitors. This has paid dividends as now they have opened the International airport again and tourism is moving towards normal making Malta an attractive destination for the safety conscious traveller.
The warm climate is also likely to have contributed to the low incidents. While it seems clear that hot weather will not stop the virus from spreading, new data finds it may help keep the virus from surviving for long periods of time on surfaces. SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, can be spread by tiny droplets expelled from a person’s mouth or nose with a cough or sneeze.
New research published on June 8 in the Physics of Fluids journal examines how quickly contaminated droplets can survive on different surfaces. This was carried out in six cities worldwide under different weather conditions to understand which areas may be at highest risk. ‘An important factor in virus transmission is how long it takes a droplet to evaporate because it can’t survive in a dry environment. The likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 surviving on a surface increases roughly 5 times in a humid environment compared to a dry one’. Therefore, it is believed that higher temperatures can kill the virus more quickly. (source: healthline.com).
Whatever the reason for Malta’s exemplary performance with Covid 19, it is clearly the perfect choice for holidaymakers for 2020. Many hotel and accommodation establishments are offering amazing deals to attract visitors to Malta. The future for tourism in Malta is looking bright. Shops and entertainment are opening again and while there are still restrictions for the safety of all, life has returned to a great extent back to normal and the Maltese are doing what they do best-enjoying themselves. If you’re yearning for some Mediterranean sun and culture, pack your bags and nip over to Malta and indulge.