Press Conference by Health Superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci (25th April, 1230)
In her daily update, Prof Gauci confirmed news that a fourth person has passed away, a 96-year old woman who had underlying chronic conditions. Yesterday 559 tests and only one positive case was identified, taking the total to 448.
This person is a 52-year old who first experience symptoms a couple of days ago. His immediate family members are being tested accordingly. Meanwhile, 26 other persons have recovered. So far 249 persons have recovered, meaning that the number of active cases is now 195.
Prof Gauci said that authorities were looking with its IT teams as well as in cooperation with our European counterparts on the development of apps to be used to ensure further protection to the general public, especially once restrictions start to be eased.
She also said that yesterday Malta received a big consignment of personal protective equipment, which required a significant effort by the Central Procurement Unit considering the huge demand worldwide for such products.
We won’t be going back to normal any time soon – Charmaine Gauci
While some Covid-19 measures could be eased soon, we will not be returning to how things were in December “any time soon,” Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said on this week’s edition of Indepth.
Interviewed by The Malta Independent media consultant Rachel Attard, Gauci said people should not expect the country to go back to how things were during Christmas just yet. “It is very difficult to return to normality at this stage. The only way to return to complete normality is to have immunity from the Coronavirus. That can only be achieved when we have a vaccine.”
White-collar crime can pay under cover of COVID-19
The global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is warning that criminals are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out financial fraud and exploitation scams, including advertising and trafficking in counterfeit medicines, offering fraudulent investment opportunities, and engaging in phishing schemes that prey on virus-related fears.
Malicious or fraudulent cybercrimes, fundraising for fake charities, and various medical scams targeting innocent victims are likely to increase, with criminals attempting to profit from the pandemic by exploiting people in urgent need of care and the goodwill of the general public and spreading misinformation about COVID-19.
Even national authorities are alerting citizens and businesses to the scams, mainly impostor, investment and product scams and even insider trading in relation to COVID- 19.
The European Commission has approved a €215 million Maltese wage subsidies scheme to support companies operating in the sectors affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020.
Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “The €215 million Maltese scheme will help employers maintain jobs in these difficult times. Preserving employment and skills is of utmost importance for the European economy to be able to recover effectively once the health crisis recedes. We are working closely with Member States to ensure that this is done in line with the EU rules”.
Malta notified to the Commission under the Temporary Framework a scheme to finance the wage costs of employers that, due to the coronavirus outbreak, would otherwise have laid off employees. The aim of the scheme is to preserve employment and avoid lay-offs of employees at a time when many business activities are either suspended or significantly reduced.
The Commission found that the Maltese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the measure will finance part of the wage costs for employees that would otherwise have been laid off, (ii) the aid is proportional as it is capped at €800 per full time employee per month, and (iii) the scheme respects the maximum duration of 12 months.
The Commission concluded that the Maltese measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with the respective law
On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules.
The Independent publishes an interview with Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci who said that a return to normal times can only be made when a vaccine is available, which is not expected to be in the short term
In-Nazzjon reports that PN Leader Adrian Delia visited the police headquarters on Friday to thank the police for their dedication in the Covid-19 emergency. Delia said that laws must be enforced without favour or political pressure.
L-Orizzont speaks to lawyer Robert Thake about problems faced by separated people who lost their jobs in the crisis but are still required to pay their maintenance. The lawyer says that there are legal remedies for such situations.
The Times reveals that Air Malta is holding talks with unions representing its cabin crew and pilots in an effort to save jobs. The Department of Employment and Industrial Relations prohibited the airline from cutting short a 30-day period for discussions.
UK to start trials on whether plasma could help COVID-19 patients
Britain is to start trials to see whether plasma collected from donors who have recovered from COVID-19 could be an effective treatment for patients who are severely unwell with the disease.
Up to 5,000 severely ill patients with COVID-19 could soon be treated each week with plasma as part of a new approach to treating the virus, the health department said on Saturday. Plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can be transfused to patients who are struggling to produce their own antibodies against the virus.
So-called convalescent plasma was used as an effective treatment during the 2002 to 2004 SARS outbreak, the health department said. In parallel with the national randomised clinical trial, the government is scaling up the national programme for collecting plasma so the treatment can be widely rolled out if it is shown to be effective, the department said.
Study shows Italy’s coronavirus epidemic began in January
The first COVID-19 infections in Italy date back to January, according to a scientific study presented on Friday, shedding new light on the origins of the outbreak in one of the world’s worst-affected countries.
Italy began testing people after diagnosing its first local patient on Feb 21 in Codogno, a small town in the wealthy Lombardy region.
Cases and deaths immediately surged, with scientists soon suspecting that the virus had been around, unnoticed, for weeks.
Stefano Merler, of the Bruno Kessler Foundation, told a news conference with Italy’s top health authorities that his institute had looked at the first known cases and drawn clear conclusions from the subsequent pace of contagion.
Coronavirus: EU guidance for a safe return to the workplace
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has issued today guidance on coming back to work after coronavirus. The European Commission said in a statement that it is attaching the greatest importance to ensuring that workers can return to the workplace in a safe and healthy environment.
The guidance issued today represents a crucial EU contribution in this important period and contains links to national information on specific sectors and occupations. It covers risk assessment and appropriate measures, involving workers, taking care of workers who have been ill, planning and learning for the future, staying well informed and information for sectors and occupations.
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, said: “Today, more than ever, it is very clear that protecting and promoting occupational safety and health is of the utmost importance for workers, companies, social protection systems and the whole society.
For a Fact-Checked Aggregated Service of CoVid-19 related information, please visit: https://corporatedispatch.com/category/coronavirus/
111 – For those who feel symptoms of COVID-19 or who wish further information
21411 411 – For those in mandatory quarantine who require provisions of food and medicine
1772 – For those who are feeling lonely.
153 – For those who require information about the financial measures administered by the Department for Social Security.
144 – For those who require information about the financial measures administered by Malta Enterprise.
2204 2200 – For Maltese residents who were caught in one of the high-risk countries and wish to return to Malta
25981000 – For those who have questions about the educational sector and the impact of the coronavirus
21692447– For hoteliers and tourists who have questions about the announced measures.
5903030 – For elderly persons bereft of support who need medicines, ready-made meals or food products (fruit and vegetables)
This daily update bulletin is being compiled for the Chamber of Advocates by CI Consulta from Corporate ID Group. CI Consulta delivers policy research and analysis, evaluations and impact assessments up to policy implementation and integration.