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MALTATODAY 10 April 2022

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2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 10 APRIL 2022 NEWS Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 "We are facing a lack of human resources. In specialised COV- ID-19 wards, standards require five nurses for every 20 patients, but we are lucky to have just three on a good day," Pace said. "Nurses are the worst-hit pro- fession, as they are the only ones tasked with managing a ward. Other specialists like doc- tors and physios visit the pa- tient and then leave," Pace said, complaining that his union is often misrepresented of being at loggerheads with the health administration. "The biggest issue we are fac- ing are patients admitted to hospital without knowing they are positive to COVID-19. We are in a situation where peo- ple do not know they are sick, and are admitted to hospital without knowing they have the virus, and therefore can spread it. There are over 150 cases at Mater Dei Hospital. This means work has doubled and some- times even trebled, in order to get them through the whole procedure," Pace said. Compounding the concerns of medical staff is the lack of trans- parency on COVID infections, as daily numbers of infections and hospitalisations are no longer being announced by the Public Health Superintendence on its Facebook page. Doctors union boss Martin Balzan (Medical Association of Malta) says the solution in keeping COVID numbers also lies in better transparency and meaningful restrictions. "Health authorities should resume publishing COVID-19 related statistics. Figures like hospitalisations, new cases and active cases should be made ac- cessible to the public. There is nothing wrong with providing this information. It is a dan- gerous situation if people lose trust in the health authorities and think they are withholding information from the public," he said. Balzan also said social distanc- ing and the use of masks must be retained. "This our normali- ty now, and people will contin- ue to get sick, and therefore we must not forget the vulnerable in society." Pace even said that gov- ernment's decision to allow home-testing kits to be used for COVID patients in quarantine, was a recipe for the continued spread of the virus. "Self-testing does not work. People are inclined towards fak- ing their result, knowing they will be forced to quarantine if they are positive. If you are tak- ing a self-test before a holiday, what are you going to do? Risk your whole family's holiday, or fake it? Pace said Malta should follow Italy's example where the use of a KN95 face-mask remains a requirement, together with a green pass for entry into mass events and enclosed spaces. "To have half-baked measures which have no effect on the spread of the virus, is like not having anything," he said. Nurses worst- hit, alone in managing COVID wards CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 James Caterers is owned by parent group JCL Holdings, which also owns 25% of JSSR Turnkey Projects, a company that includes as shareholders hotel- ier Silvio Debono's SD Holdings; and Turk- ish construction firm Recube, whose CEO Ridvan Senturk was formerly a manager at Turkish firm TACA, whose employees were tasked with works on the Marsa junction project. Azzopardi captained the transformation of Malta's road network over the past four years, with controversy dogging the IM agen- cy for its approach to permitting on various roads projects. Azzopardi was for- merly CEO at Enemal- ta, before taking over at IM when it was created as a separate agency from Transport Malta. Azzopardi, an en- gineer by profession, had already denied ru- mours that his future will be with construc- tion magnate Joseph Portelli. "I have a job lined up and it is not in the construction in- dustry," he said. Infrastructure Mal- ta was set up in 2018 to fulfil an elector- al pledge to overhaul Malta's road network with a €700 million budget spread over seven years. Road projects ranged from residential roads to major arteries. Some of the more signifi- cant projects included the Marsa multi-level junction, the Santa Lu- cija underpass and the Central Link. However, the agency repeatedly came un- der fire from environ- mental activists and residents over projects that took up agricultur- al land and led to trees being uprooted. Azzo- pardi was often singled out for his brash atti- tude when dealing with residents and activists opposed to IM's plans. Azzopardi private sector move A radical shift in budgets from in- frastructural road- works to urban greening will be tak- ing place in the next two years. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana con- firmed with Mal- taToday that with some €200 million not been utilised from the infra- structure budget from a total of €700 million, this budget will be phased out gradually and re- directed to urban greening. "We will be phas- ing out the infra- structure budget, but it does not mean that no road- works will take place but the em- phasis will be on urban greening. "The country's fi- nances in the next three years need to be focused to make up for price hike in energy and basic retail items. "The government has no intention of allowing the econ- omy to dip because of inflation, we will cushion price in- crements as far as is possible." The urban green- ing projects will be captained by Min- ister Miriam Dalli, while new minister for infrastructural projects Aaron Far- rugia will be tasked with concluding the many road projects that were started. €200 million in roads construction cash will be moved to urban parks

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