Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus Pandemic

The NAB-MALTA continues to monitor advice about the developments and risks following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The situation has led to safety concerns and travel restrictions that may affect accredited conformity assessment activities.

The NAB-MALTA will be rescheduling the on-site assessments scheduled for March to May. Conformity assessment bodies having their assessments scheduled during this period will be or have already been contacted by the respective Team Leader. We have to ensure the health and safety of our staff, our assessment team members and laboratory and inspection body staff, whilst not compromising the integrity of the accreditation process. It remains important that the trust and confidence that accreditation provides to the marketplace is not unduly diminished during these challenging times.

The NAB-MALTA is considering the possibility of other arrangements, including remote assessments, should this situation prevail beyond May. Practical arrangements for remote assessments will be explained should these become necessary. In the main, remote assessments will be conducted via web-meetings, remote document review and remote viewing of live streams for witnessing. At the most basic level this will comprise a telephone call and remote review of documents.

During this time, priority will be placed on maintaining the accreditation of our customers, therefore priority will be given to surveillance and reassessment visits. Regarding extensions to scope and initial assessments; some extensions to scope can be effectively conducted remotely and these will be unchanged. However, whilst more complex extensions to scope or initial assessments may have some aspects conducted remotely it is unlikely that the NAB-MALTA will be able to assess and grant accreditation for any new or significantly changed activities during this period.

With regard to the transition of laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 currently we do not foresee any major difficulties, especially if the deadlines within our transition policy have been followed.

The NAB-MALTA remains available by telephone.  However, because of ‘social distancing’ we will limit contact with each other and with third parties. This means that planned meetings at the office are cancelled. We will convert the appointments into a remote appointment as much as possible, via the Microsoft Teams. If this fails, the appointment will be postponed or cancelled.

Details of further actions that may be necessary will be released by the NAB-MALTA to comply with the advice from the government authorities, as and when required.

We would like to close this statement by thanking all health professionals and support staff who are somehow or other involved in the fight against this pandemic.