27.04.20 Covid-19 Update


Press Conference by Health Superintendent (27th April 1230 hrs)

700 tests were carried out yesterday, resulting in two new cases, taking Malta’s tally to 450.

Four other persons have recovered, including two children younger than nine. 286 people have now recovered, meaning that Malta has 160 active cases.

These two new cases include a 40-year old Maltese man who was in contact at the place of work with a person who was previously identified as infected. The other person is a 68-year old person and carried out voluntary work. The necessary contact tracing is taking place.

Prof Gauci spoke about the situation at Hal Far where she said that 359 tests were carried out. This include both persons showing symptoms as well as others who were tested randomly. She thanked the Red Cross for the support provided in this location.

Questioned on the easing of restrictions, Gauci said that reaching an infection reproduction rate of 1 was not enough for this process to commence, but this situation had to be sustained for a number of days. Referring to crowds, including the elderly, visible around Malta’s public places yesterday, the Health Superintendent said that this was worrying and appealed for further patience to ensure that this pandemic is defeated definitively.



Health authorities begin ‘proactive’ screening

The health authorities are taking a ‘proactive’ approach to screen for COVID-19, including testing anyone who calls the 111 helpline, even if they are not showing any symptoms.

Professionals at swabbing centres and those taking calls on 111 have been told that since the number of people asking to get tested has dropped, the authorities will be “actively looking” for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the community. This includes high risk groups such as migrants, healthcare workers, police and army officials, and also those who call the helpline.

The change in tack was communicated in an email on Monday. It said: “In view of the decreasing number of people requesting to be swabbed, we are changing our strategy into a more proactive one.

“We are going to actively look for people in the community who might be COVID-19 positive and yet are asymptomatic.” Previously those with coronavirus-like symptoms who call the helpline were being given an appointment to get tested at one of the swabbing centres across the island. Now anyone who calls the number will be given an appointment.

The numbers of new coronavirus cases have dropped in recent days and Sunday marked the first day in six weeks without a single new COVID-19 patient. It has sparked discussion about lifting some of the measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.

However Superintendent of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, has also raised concerns about people missing their testing appointments, and said that this could pose a risk to public health.

Gauci has expressed concern that the no-shows could also be spreading the virus further without even knowing that they are actually infected.

First easing of COVID-19 measures expected to be announced this week

The government is this week expected to announce the first easing of the COVID-19 restrictive measures, but sources say ministers and government advisers are still split on when and how to reopen businesses.

For the first time since the breakout of COVID-19 cases in Malta, no new cases were reported on Sunday. The number of new cases in previous days had been in single digits.

Sources privy to the internal discussions on lifting the restrictions told Times of Malta that, so far, ministers had only agreed on “minimal changes” to the containment measures.

“At this point we have agreed on changes that do not have that much of a major impact on the way people are living their lives, such as the reintroduction of elective surgeries at hospital,” a government source said. The source later added that decisions on when to allow groups of larger than three people to gather, and when to open bars, restaurants and other businesses were still being discussed internally.

One possibility, the source said, was to start reopening businesses as soon as the first week of May.


Car market hit by COVID-19 as sales drop by 24%

Fewer cars were rolled out on the road in the first three months with figures out today suggesting a dramatic drop in sales. There were 1,180 less newly licensed cars when compared to the same period last year, figures released by the National Statistics Office show. This accounts for a 24% drop in new cars on the road.

The decrease in passenger cars was reflected in both new and second-hand car sales.

The NSO figures show that there were 3,752 newly licensed passenger cars in the first quarter, of which 38% were new vehicles. The total number of newly licensed vehicles (all types) stood at 5,269.

Passenger cars made up 71.2% of all newly licensed vehicles in the first three months.


The Times claims that the first coronavirus restrictions are expected to be relaxed this week but says that ministers and government advisers disagree over which businesses should be allowed to re-open first.

L-Orizzont announces that no new Covid-19 cases were recorded on Sunday, the first time in seven weeks. Health Minister Chris Fearne said that measures could be eased but warned about a second wave of infections.

In-Nazzjon says that another 33 patients recovered on Sunday, taking the number of closed cases to 283. Health authorities said that lockdown measures can be eased after two weeks without new cases.

L-Orizzont quotes Prime Minister Robert Abela who said that, despite the encouraging signs, the pandemic has still not subsided, and it is not the “time for celebrations” yet. Abela said that Malta showed that it was well-prepared for the outbreak.


The Times’ Editorial looks at the current EU-level debate on whether to support ailing economies through loans which will put further pressure on indebted countries, or whether to issue bonds meaning that all countries would be jointly responsible for them. The Editor argues that failure to reach an agreement means that populist parties will exploit this disagreement, and also add to the risk that the EU becomes a two-speed political union which is held together by the common interest of having a single market with free movement of people and goods.

The Independent reminds its readers that despite the positive news reported over the weekend of no new coronavirus cases, our life will not return to normality for quite some time – not even during Summer. It is up to each and everyone of us to continue to respect directives to protect the vulnerable and sick among us.


 Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll rises once more

The number of daily fatalities from the novel coronavirus reported in Spain rose on Monday to 331, up from 288 the previous day, the health ministry said.

The overall death toll caused by the disease rose to 23,521 from 23,190 the day before. The total number of diagnosed cases rose to 209,465 from 207,634 the day before.

In recent days the data has offered a glimmer of hope; Monday marked the fourth day in which the number of overnight deaths has hovered below 400 after reaching a high of 950 deaths on 2 April.

The number of deaths and new infections is clearly on the decline, said Fernando Simón, the head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies. “And obviously this gives us hope.”

New COVID-19 test reported to deliver results in just 45 minutes

A new type of test for COVID-19 can deliver results as quickly as 45 minutes, the Hebrew daily Yisrael Hayom reported Monday. This is more than 4 times faster that the existing test, which takes 3-4 hours to show results.

The test, called Cepheid GeneXpert, received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month for its rapid molecular diagnostic test. The system uses laboratory equipment and systems that are already being used in Israel.

The US restricted exporting the system after it was approved by the FDA, but the Israeli company Medison was able to import it into the country through  Sweden,  Yisrael Hayom said.

EU Corner 

EU’s economic recovery fund should be available by Summer – Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni

 The recovery fund to support EU Member States survive the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic should be available by latest mid-September and its “reasonable size” should reach €1.5 trillion. European Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said this during an interview on Rai Television, Italy’s national broadcaster.

“We cannot wait two years, like what happened between the end of the World War II and the Marshall Plan. We need this now, by Summer. And Summer is over by mid- September, but ideally this plan is up and running by July”.

Quizzed on the current debate on a European level whether the best policy would see the provision of further loans to the already-indebted countries, or whether to provide direct grants, Gentiloni explained: “President Van der Leyen made no reference to a 50- 50 mix, but rather that we need a mix. We need to work on both, loans are an important part of the whole plan but grants are a necessary element too”.

More News:

For a Fact-Checked Aggregated Service of CoVid-19 related information, please visit: https://corporatedispatch.com/category/coronavirus/

Additional info


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).

25469111 – For those who work in the gaming industry.

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.