US travellers to Malta
I am a resident of Minnesota in the United States. My dad and stepmother live in New Mexico. Both states are now on Malta’s ‘red’ list.
It has now been several months since we’ve all completed either both shots of the US Centres for Disease Control-approved Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson single-shot. But Malta does not currently accept proof of these.
We had booked travel to meet dear, long-time family friends from Denmark (also vaccinated) in Malta in August. Now we are all nervously watching the Maltese news every day and keeping an eye out as our travel dates loom.
We obviously hope Maltese policy will be changed to allow vaccinated US travellers to visit. Otherwise, we will have to cancel – we can’t afford a costly and medically-unnecessary 14-day quarantine. But we also know that Malta must do everything in its power to protect its population.
Among the many difficult and tragic lessons of this pandemic are the need to stay empathetic, be a global citizen and put the public good first. Pleasure travel is a luxury. We can postpone – even though we hope we don’t have to.
We send our love to Malta and hope to see you soon.
Sara Van Norman – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Living with COVID in India
In the nine months that have passed since my previous letter to this esteemed paper, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc in India where I work and in Malta, which is the ground in which I remain rooted.
In the tribal area of the State of Jharkhand, where I work with disabled children and adults at village level, the spread of COVID has been less dramatic than in other parts of India, especially the big cities. But, still, there is suffering and even deaths caused by the illness as well as by unemployment related to the lockdown measures which continue to date.
There is also a great need of educating villagers about COVID-19, its potential seriousness and the importance of getting vaccinated to prevent the spread of the disease. Our tribal people have been very reluctant to take the vaccine.
I am, therefore, grateful to the Mission Fund for once again sending me additional funds this year. We have developed educational material about COVID to be used by our field workers when they go to villages: a set of flashcards and fact sheets and corresponding posters. The additional funds enabled us to print this material and also give face masks to the families of disabled persons with whom we constantly interact. This is a small but effective contribution in the ongoing efforts to control the disease and to be able to once again pick up the threads of day-to-day life.
I would like to express my gratitude to all the generous Maltese and Gozitans who support Mission Fund so that they can support us. I encourage those who are reading this to send used stamps and donations to Mission Fund so that they can continue this valuable service.
Donations may be made online or by direct bank transfer. More information may be accessed from the website www.missionfund.org.mt.
Marcette Buttigieg – Pakur, Jharkhand, India
I refer to the letter ‘Blind guides’ (June 21). Alan Cooke seems to imply that a dwindled congregation is proof of his paradigm that Catholics are a gullible bunch of believers but, perhaps, the additional 16,000,000 adherents to the Church’s legions in the previous year will fill in the missing young faces in the Church’s pews, in spite of religious freedom being under threat and danger as never before.
John Azzopardi – Żabbar
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