In view of the current Covid-19 pandemic, Malta will not be able to guarantee that it will be in the position to rescue further migrants. In a statement yesterday evening, Government announced that it will not disembark any further rescued persons. This statement was issued shortly after the Armed Forces rescued a group of migrants which reached our shores in the early hours of the morning.
The Government explained that the country’s resources were stretched to a maximum with the need to ensure the enforcement of coronavirus-related measures, together with the risks associated to the potential carrying of the virus by the migrants.
“It is in the interest and responsibility of such people not to endanger themselves on a risky voyage to a country which is not in a position to offer them a secure harbour,” the statement said.
The statement also hit at the lack of assistance and solidarity shown by its peers, whereby in the previous years it had carried out a substantial number of rescue operations with little external help.
Government sends statement to EU Commission
Government has also published a statement it sent to the European Commission, in which it explained that:
“Considering the situation of a public health emergency resultant from the spread of the coronavirus and the current extraordinary burden being faced by the national health services, as well as due to the extraordinary commitments being made by the public sector, for the care and assistance to COVID-19 patients, it is presently not possible to ensure the availability of a ‘safe place’ on the Maltese territory, without compromising the efficiency/functionality of the national health, logistic and safety structures, which are dedicated to limiting the spread of the contagious disease, as well as to provide assistance and care to COVID-19 patients.”