01.05.20 Covid-19 Update



Press Conference by PM Robert Abela, DPM Chris Fearne and Health Superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci (1st May, 1100)

Update on cases

Prof Gauci announced that 1,184 tests were carried out yesterday, resulting in two new cases. Sixteen other persons have recovered, meaning that there are now 96 active cases.

One case resulted in Gozo while another concerns an immigrant at Hal Far.

Some businesses to re-open on Monday, majority by end of month

“Today is a better day than yesterday, today we start the road to a new normality. Success will depend more than ever on the responsibility of the Maltese public”. PM Robert Abela said this while announcing that scientific evidence indicates that the authorities can start to reduce some of the restrictions, in a gradual manner”.

As from next Monday 4th May, a number of establishments will be allowed to re-open. Another decision will be taken in three weeks time so as to ensure that most businesses will be re-opened by the end of May. However, the airport will not be re-opened for the time being. Robert Abela explained that Government will continue to pay the wage supplement for the next two months even to those businesses who will be allowed to re-open.

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that our country and the rest of the word has passed through the worst times since World War II. “I am proud of my country and the way we have dealt with the crisis, both from a health perspective but also by taking care of our businesses and safeguarding employment”. He added that “I fully trust the Maltese population and in our health authorities”. The Prime Minister recalled some of the restrictive measures, saying that he understood that these implied sacrifices, but added that Government sought to find a balance not to create excessive suffering. These measures were timely and adopted according to scientific guidance: “Time proved me right and I am proud to have resisted a lockdown”. Abela said that the measures undertaken were highlighted by the WHO as best practice.

Deputy PM and Health Minister shared further details on the easing of restrictions. He said that this was possible because Malta’s reproductive factor of the virus continued to decrease. He said that these decisions will seek a delicate balance between health and economic requirements.

These decisions include:

  1. All health centres will start providing vaccinations for this will include a new vaccination, details on which will be provided tomorrow. Also from tomorrow, cervical cancer screening will resume. CT Scans, MRIs and ultrasound and cardiology appointments will resume, together with other health services.
  2. As from this Monday, a number of outlets will be allowed to re-open according to certain These include lotto booths, VRT testing, clothes’ shops, jewelery shops, bags and leather outlets, shops selling shoes, perfumeries and beauty services, home decor, souvenirs, discount stores, toys, hobbies, flowers and furniture. Anyone entering any open outlets will be asked to wear a mask. Social distancing requirements will continue to apply, with a two-metre distance between customers being required. Access to changing rooms will not be allowed.
  3. For trips between Malta and Gozo, screening will continue to apply but restrictive measures will be eased, with a fixed number of travellers being
  4. The Court’s registry will re-open.
  5. Four people will be allowed to congregate Fearne said that while the authorities had no power to impose fines for people gathering in larger groups at home, this was dangerous as the virus was still around. He therefore recommended not to gather in such groups even in private locations. However, persons aged over 65 and vulnerable persons with indicated conditions have been asked to continue avoiding going out except for reasons of absolute necessity.

Hairdressers and beauty salons will not be allowed to re-open.

These measures will be assessed over the next three weeks, when further decisions will be taken.

Health Superintendent Prof Gauci said that more than 14,000 persons used the symptom checker app launched yesterday. She insisted that the importation of cases from abroad needed to be avoid at all costs and this is why the airport will not re-open this month.

She explained that the decisions announced by Chris Fearne were evidence based, and a rating system was established as part of a risk assessment process. Retail owners could refuse entry to persons visibly showing symptoms. Every outlet will be only be allowed to accept one person for every ten squared metres of the same outlet.

Prof Gauci insisted that as social distancing remains important, so does tele-working, which is a principle which must continue in the coming weeks.



Government should ‘walk the talk’ and reduce commercial rents – MDA

Tenants under commercial government leases have yet to receive any rent relief or temporary assistance from the state, the Malta Developers Association has noted.

While the government has encouraged landlords to help their tenants during the COVID- 19 crisis, it has not done the same thing itself with its commercial tenants, the MDA said.

“Businesses and commercial establishments that have government-related leases, including those with the Malta Industrial Parks and the Lands Authority, have not yet benefitted from any form of voluntary temporary arrangements with their landlord (the government) and are still paying pre-COVID-19 rates”.

“As a landlord, the government should also lead by example,” the MDA said. Having encouraged private landlords to reduce rent during the crisis, the government should now do the same itself and “walk the talk,” it said.


Science and numbers will determine when restrictive measures are lifted, Fearne says Science and numbers will determine when restrictive measures will start being relaxed and not what other countries are doing, Chris Fearne has cautioned.

The Health Minister said some health services that had to be postponed to ensure more resources were dedicated to the fight against COVID-19 can be restarted but was coy about other measures that impacted the economy.

“We are in today’s positive situation because from the very beginning we abided by what science was telling us, and what the numbers were suggesting,” he said, shunning any comparison with other countries.

Some European countries have announced exit strategies to start lifting restrictions but Fearne insisted each country’s case was different and unique.

Speaking on TVM’s Xtra on Thursday night, he said Malta had a large degree of success in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, with a mortality rate that was almost 10 times lower than the international average


The Independent publishes an interview with Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin CEO Josef Vella who said that statistics for March do not indicate any crisis situation but warned that it is too early to speak of a post-Covid phase.

L-Orizzont quotes General Workers Union secretary general Josef Bugeja who said that the ongoing emergency demonstrates how important it is for workers to be part of a trade union. The GWU is marking International Workers’ Day.


Italy’s dis-unity in regional lockdown easing schedule deemed too risky

Italy’s coronavirus infection rate will go back up to 1.3, from below 1 at present, if schools are reopened, expert Stefano Merler of Trento’s Bruno Kessler Institute told the Higher Health Institute (ISS) on Thursday.

Merler said this would happen even though children are 66% less susceptible to getting the virus.

He said it took an average 6.6 days for symptoms to manifest from the moment of infection, and added that the contagion rate would also go above the epidemiological threshold if restaurants are added to the construction, manufacturing and commerce sectors already slated to be reopened when the lockdown is eased on Monday. Italian schools are set to reopen in September.

EU Corner

EU protecting workers’ fundamental rights in tackling impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 is disrupting the lives and livelihoods of billions of workers across the globe. On the occasion of International Workers’ Day, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) underlined the need for governments, workers and employers to continue their concerted efforts to combat the outbreak, ensure public health, and safeguard workers’ fundamental rights now and in the future.

Partial or full lockdown measures currently in place by governments affect over 80% of the global workforce, estimates the International Labour Organization.

The agency pointed out how the population’s ‘lockdown’ has an immediate impact across most economic  sectors as employers sent workers home. Some sectors like catering and tourism are particularly hard hit.

Some workers could work remotely from home. However, many in lower paid jobs – factory-workers, waiters and receptionists, for example – could not.

As many businesses, large and small, are likely to fail, experts fear unemployment to continue to rise sharply.

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.

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.