Press Conference by Health Superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci (13th May, 1230)
Prof Gauci confirmed the death of the 53-year old man who had serious underlying conditions as the sixth victim of coronavirus. Sections of the media have reported this patient to be a heart surgeon.
She also announced two further recoveries, taking this total to 436. Yesterday 1,143 tests were carried out resulting in two new positive cases, for a total of 508. 66 active cases remain. Both cases are contacts of existing positive patients. The first is a 24-year old Maltese woman who lives with a person who had resulted as positive and was already in quarantine. The other concerns a 33-year old Maltese health care worker employed at Karen Grech. She last reported to work on the 8th May.
Prof Gauci also provided an update on Hal Far Tent Village where tests have been ongoing with groups of immigrants being placed under quarantine. The quarantine expires today for all but 4 immigrants. Out of 50 cases of coronavirus in the village, only 2 remain active.
Questioned by the media, the Health Superintendent, she said that 30 healthcare workers based at Mater Dei were found positive. However, she recalled that healthcare workers are a heavily-tested target group. In addition, they can become infected through their out of work community.
Economic Proposals by Chamber of Commerce
During a meeting with the Minister for the Economy the Hon Silvio Schembri, The Malta Chamber made a series of fresh proposals to Government to assist businesses through the extraordinary COVID19 crisis. The new proposals build on the already existing programme of assistance which the Government is providing businesses with, as it provides a structure for resilience and adaptation on behalf of businesses.
The Malta Chamber also proposed a new advisory scheme for support on the development of professional business plans to re-engineer objectives, structure and operations. The new scheme should include the possibility for all companies to access expert advice on business reengineering. This will assist most businesses thrive as a result of the opportunity offered by this disruptive pandemic.
The Chamber’s proposals also included for short-term support measures to incentivise companies to innovate their operation, assistance for training or reskilling of workers and subsidies on investment in technology and equipment.
Economic Proposals by the SME Chamber
The SME Chamber has proposed the reduction of income tax to 20% among a series of wide-ranging proposals to support the restoration of economic activity. In a statement, it said that although it welcomed the re-opening of a number of activities, this resulted in very little economic movement and sales for the shops. “The economic activity will not be restored on its own, even if businesses are allowed to open, and thus strong incentives, strategies and campaigns will be necessary to ensure positive economic activity”, it said.
Following the setting up of an SME taskforce to work on proposals in this regard together with a wider consultation exercise carried out with members, the Malta Chamber of SMEs has presented a comprehensive document with proposals of what Malta needs to start strengthening the economic activity after stalling for two months.
The list of proposals presented by the SME Chamber is available here.
MALTA-24: LOCAL NEWS
A 53-year-old heart surgeon and university lecturer has died at Mater Dei Hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19 four days ago.
Aaron Casha is the youngest coronavirus victim in Malta and the sixth person to die. The Health Ministry said he suffered serious underlying health issues. One of his colleagues, Joseph Grima, said Malta had lost a brilliant surgeon and a top academic.
The announcement of his death came a day after the medical authorities celebrated the progress made by a 72-year-old man who was sent home on Tuesday after six weeks in hospital, including a lengthy period in intensive care.
Plasma from recovered Maltese patients will be used for treatment study
Plasma, which is rich in antibodies, is to be taken from Maltese patients who have recovered from the Coronavirus to be used as treatment for the same virus, as part of a study Malta is participating in.
Giving COVID-19 patients the liquid portion of blood (plasma), obtained from those who have recovered from the virus, could lead to faster improvement of the disease because it may have the ability to fight the virus that causes COVID-19, the European Blood Alliance has reported.
Malta Today says that an inquiry has been launched by the Justice Ministry to investigate the case of a lawyer who left the AG’s office to join Yorgen Fenech’s defence team the following day. The probe will be led by former Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi.
The Independent reveals that plasma containing antibodies from patients who have recovered from Covid-19 will be used as treatment for other patients. Malta is taking part in a European study supported by the EU Commission.
The Times quotes relatives of a man who died in Żabbar after the police used a stun gun on him and doctors administered a sedative. Family members said that they had filed some 20 reports at the police station before officers came to visit.
L-Orizzont speaks to the niece of Frank Aloisio, who died in a motorbike accident on Monday. She said that the fatal accident happened one day before the biker’s eldest daughter celebrated her birthday.
In-Nazzjon quotes the Hotels and Restaurants Association which expressed concerns over the state of the economy. The association said that members are unable to keep paying salaries for much longer.
The Times speaks to an Air Malta spokesperson who confirms that the carrier is making day-by-day decisions about flights beyond the end of May. Until now, the airline was cancelling flights for an entire month.
The Independent reports that from 275 inspections conducted by the financial services watchdog in 2019, 25 were specific to anti-money-laundering activities. Last year, the MFSA launched a Financial Crime Compliance unit.
L-Orizzont says that the Financial Services Authority issued 12 administrative sanctions since the start of the year, more than were delivered over an entire year in 2019. The watchdog says that it is investigating cases of suspected financial regulations breaches.
The Times reveals that Malta requested the help of the US to implement Moneyval reforms and avoid falling into the non-compliant category. The preliminary results published last September gave Malta just over a year to make sweeping changes to fight money laundering.
L-Orizzont claims that Malta is eligible for up to €500 million in loans and guarantees issued by the EU as part of the support package agreed by the member states. The paper says Malta is usually allocated one per thousand of EU grants.
The Times if Malta‘s Editorial focuses on the qualities required in the new police commissioner. The new incumbent must, according to the Editor be able to demonstrate their independent-mindedness and that they are apolitical and capable of rising above partisan politics. A police chief’s loyalty lies first and foremost with the citizenry they are pledged to protect and not the politicians that have put them in the post. But they must also show awareness, good judgement and integrity to negotiate the political pitfalls that will mark their every waking hour as commissioner.
Maltatoday tackles the same issue, with the Editor adding that new Commissioner must also be able to bring the police closer to the people again. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in policemen once again patrolling towns and villages: the return of the ‘beat’. This contact with the community has been lacking for many years; and it is also time to introduce further changes: for example, engaging civilians to handle administrative tasks, thus freeing more policemen to serve in localities.
The Editor at the Independent lashes out against the privileged few in Maltese society. The Editorial contends that while many have been forced to stay at home, cannot meet their families, friends or carry out their hobbies, a few among us were treated differently. It names the construction industry, the hunters and fireworks enthusiasts as notable exceptions.
In-Nazzjon lauds the efforts of the local health authorities with regard to handling of the current pandemic and the preparations which took place before the first cases hit the island.
L-Orizzont analyses the financial services sector in Malta, basing itself on the MFSA’s Annual Report published earlier this week. It notes how the number of entities and jobs in this sector continued to grow, but so did the Authority’s inspections of licenced entities. The Editorial also welcomes efforts at improving efforts against anti-money laundering.
Beaches to open in Italy but with strict rules, pools to be banned
Italy’s beaches will be able to open but with precise rules to minimize the risk of coronavirus contagion, according to a document drafted by the Higher Health Institute (ISS) and workplace accident insurance agency INAIL.
In order to make it possible to limit access to beach establishments to a set number of people, the document recommends “obligatory bookings, including for time periods during the day. “The use of fast payment systems, with contactless cards or apps/web portals, is also recommended.
“The routes to enter and exit should also be differentiated, where possible, with clear signage”. The use of swimming pools within the establishments will be banned.
Russia reports over 10,000 new cases for 11th consecutive day
Russia reported 10,028 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing its total to 242,271, according to data released by the country’s virus response headquarters.
The country has recorded 2,212 Covid-19 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Russia has recorded the second-highest number of cases worldwide, after the United States. It has now reported over 10,000 cases per day for 11 consecutive days.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency returned a shipment of Russian ventilators after the same models reportedly caught fire in St. Petersburg, a FEMA spokesperson said.
EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU
EU calls for non-discriminatory opening of borders in coordinated effort to boost tourism
The European Commission has presented a package of guidelines and recommendations to help Member States gradually lift travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen, after months of lockdown, while respecting necessary health precautions.
The Commission said in a statement this afternoon that this guidance aims to offer people the chance to get some well-needed rest, relaxation and fresh air. “As soon as the health situation allows, people should be able to catch up with friends and family, in their own EU country or across borders, with all the safety and precautionary measures needed in place.”
The package also aims to help the EU tourism sector recover from the pandemic, by supporting businesses and ensuring that Europe continues to be the number one destination for visitors.
The guidelines include advice on how to re-open borders, as well as how to allow a safe re-opening of hospitality establishments.
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.
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.