Press Conference by Health Superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci (30th April, 1230)
Prof Charmaine Gauci said that yesterday, 1253 swabs were carried out, resulting in two positive cases. Malta’s total now stands at 465. Total swabs have now reached 32,989. She also announced 12 other recoveries, which now total 351, meaning the number of active cases is 110.
These cases concern a 33-year old Sudanese worker who lives in the community who lives in the same place as a person identified previously. He had shown known symptoms but was identified through contact tracing. The other case concerns a Romanian woman who lives in Malta. She was not working recently but was in contact with two household contacts who are now being followed up.
Prof Gauci said that 11% of persons infected with the virus showed no symptoms. Another person was admitted to ITU, meaning there are two persons in Intensive care.
The Health Superintendent encourage people to download a symptom-checking application launched today. It can be used on any device, including PCs, tablets and smartphones. This will consider different factors and will indicate the possibility of being infected with the virus and will guide you towards testing. This web app collects no confidential information and does not keep records of location or IP addresses.
Press Conference by Economy Minister Silvio Schembri and Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia (30th April, 1130)
Wage supplement extended
Government has announced that its COVID-19 wage supplement, which was originally announced for the months and April will be extended to May and June. Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said in a press conference this morning that despite the authorities planning to reduce social restrictions in the coming weeks, Government will continue to support businesses and jobs for two further months as it understood that economic activity will take longer to recover.
Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia said that businesses need to apply by today to apply for the first tranche of supplements. Those applying from next Monday will be eligible for the second tranche only. However, those who had applied for the first tranche will be automatically rolled over and do not need to reapply but will be solely required to confirm the amounts of employees.
Re-opening of businesses discussed at MCESD
Minister Silvio Schembri announced that yesterday Government held meetings with MCESD on the “return to a new normality”, which will seek to secure a balancing of economic, social and health concerns. “Government has prepared a plan, which is being discussed with the health authorities with regards to the relaxation of measures, including the re-opening of a number of businesses”, explained Schembri.
Schembri said that all decisions are being taken with the widest possible consultation with all social partners. “Malta is performing much better than its counterparts”, said Schembri. “Nonetheless, there were people who lost their jobs and we will putting our resources to create new opportunities for them”. He added that he knew of a number of businesses which will be expanding in the next few months, naming manufacturing company Metalform among them.
He noted that Government’s expenditure through these measures had gone up by a 100 million euro. When questioned about the MEA’s and Opposition’s proposals on reducing electricity bills, the Minister said that “such proposals were not part of Government’s economic model”.
Update on Wage Support
Minister Schembri said that with regards to the full wage supplement, up to a maximum of 800 euro a month, 16,121 applications were received, covering 68,000 employees.
9,696 applications were approved, covering 41,415 employees, which meant in excess of 23 million euro payments.
When factoring both Annex A (the hardest-hit enterprises) and Annex B (who are provided a lesser degree of support in view of a partial impact, covering one day of the week of an employee’s salary), the total amount of applications reaches just under 19,000, covering 87,808 employees.
More than 52,000 inquiries through various channels were made by businesses since the start of the crisis. 1,553 applications for quarantine leave have been received. 1,190 have been processed, while 363 remained pending. This has entailed a disbursement of just under 50,000 euro.
Malta FA postpones decision on Premier League and Trophy, stops all other football competitions
Malta’s Premier League and FA Trophy competitions have not been stopped yet but a decision will have to be taken by 25 May, the football association said. The Malta Football Association executive committee yesterday decided to stop all competitions for this season with the exception of top-flight football, the FA Trophy and competitions run by the Gozo Football Association.
The MFA said the winners, relegation, promotion issues and play-offs for competitions that have been stopped will be decided in due course. However, Premier League clubs will have to wait for the verdict to determine the outcome of this season since no clear direction has yet been given as to whether the league can actually continue.
The Times quotes Finance Minister Edward Scicluna who told social partners that Malta’s GDP is forecasted to fall by 5.4 percent this year before rebounding by 3.9 percent in 2021. Scicluna revealed that 80 percent of the IIP fund is being used to soften the economic blow.
L-Orizzont says that the government rescue schemes are planned to remain in place until the end of 2020. Finance Minister Edward Scicluna told the paper that state assistance will still be available for businesses after they start to re-open.
The Malta Business Weekly follows an interview with Barclays bank CEO Jes Staley who said that the coronavirus made crowded office blocks ‘a thing of the past’ as the bank is looking for ways to keep distance working after the restrictions are lifted.
The Business Today, while welcoming the authorities’ approach to the pandemic so far, calls for a transition strategy which at least gives an indication to businesses of what to expect in the coming months. The Editor notes an increasing uncertainty which may lead to unemployment in the current weeks if all restrictions remain in force as is. While the Editor argues against rescinding all measures at one go, a case for a gradual, well- planned and transparent transition strategy is made.
Evidence review shows no case of a child passing coronavirus to an adult
No child has been found to have passed coronavirus to an adult, a review of evidence in partnership with the Royal College of Paediatricians has found.
Major studies into the impact of Covid-19 on young children show it is likely that they “do not play a significant role” in spreading the virus and are significantly less likely to become infected than adults.
While experts have said more evidence is needed, they note that there has not been a single case of a child under 10 transmitting the virus even in contact tracing carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The development comes after public health officials in Switzerland announced that under-10s can hug their grandparents again because they pose no risk to them.
Spain records lowest increase in six weeks
The number of fatalities related to Covid-19 recorded overnight in Spain fell to 268, the lowest tally in nearly six weeks, the country’s health ministry said.
The overall death toll rose to 24,543 on Thursday, up from 24,275 on the previous day, the ministry said.
The number of cases registered in the country rose to 213,435 from 212,917 the day before.
EU Ministers push for single EU contact tracing app but divergences persist
EU ministers are pushing for a single EU contact tracing app to facilitate coordination between member states but divergences over the systems to implement are stalling development. Interior ministers from the 27 countries said that the right technology could potentially replace the need for border controls and checks.
However, governments found a stumbling block in the approach to data storage and processing. France is calling for a centralised system that stores information on a central server, an approach supported by the UK, too. Austria is arguing for a decentralised model, where data is processed on the users’ devices themselves.
Germany had initially backed a Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT) project, which adopted a centralised system. However, senior figures in the Bundesregierung have indicated a move away from the technology after it received backlash.
Meanwhile, the Council of Europe also weighed in on the discussion calling for a decentralised system.
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.