Press Conference by Health Superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci (16th May, 1230)
The Health Ministry announced through a Facebook post that there were 14 new cases of coronavirus in Malta during the past 24 hours. Two persons have since recovered, meaning the number of active cases has gone up to 90.
Prof Charmaine Gauci said that the authorities are increasing testing substantially. Yesterday a record 1,727 tests were carried out, resulting in these 14 cases. The total number of cases has gone up to 546.
Nine of the new patients had shown no symptoms. Four were healthcare workers.
Questioned about the rise in cases, Prof Gauci said that the transmission rate (RT) after the easing of restrictions, on average, remained under 1. Asked about the re-opening of the airport, following the announcement by the Tourism Minister, Gauci insisted that such decisions will be taken at the right time after the appropriate assessment of the situation.
Health Minister appeals for caution in opening up of economy
Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne today appealed for caution and for the resumption of economic activity saying there was a risk that if the economy opens up for Summer, the country could end having to “close” for Winter.
Fearne lauded the authorities’ actions before and after the onset of the crisis, but said that the current transition period was complex as crucial decisions had to be taken. Speaking on 103 Radio, he said that Government was seeking a balance between economic and health needs.
Questioned about flights, Fearne warned that a spike in cases could deter tourists from coming to Malta.
PN says economic decisions should be taken on Prof Gauci’s advice
PN Leader Adrian Delia said that the Opposition placed its full trust in Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci on the easing of restrictive measures. Delia said that once Gauci confirms that there are no risks to public health, decisions can then be taken. Speaking on Net Television, the PN Leader said that while Gauci and Minister Chris Fearne appeared to be largely on the same wavelength, the same could not be said of Prime Minister Robert Abela, who gave the impression that health and the economy were at loggerheads.
MALTA-24: LOCAL NEWS
Shops are seeing little to no business, says chamber of SMEs
Shops that reopened their doors nearly a fortnight ago have seen very little or no business at all, with many of them saying they were better off when shut.
“We’re open but every minute that passes we’re losing money,” one angry business owner told Times of Malta on condition of anonymity.
Another said: “I dare say we were better off when we were shut and all at home because at least I wasn’t spending more on water and electricity, with the ACs on all day at full blast and a handful of people walking into my shop. This cannot go on for longer.”
Non-essential retail outlets were ordered to close on March 23 to curb the spread of COVID-19 and were allowed to re-open on May 4, with obligatory use of masks and restricted footfall. Hairdressers and beauty therapy shops are still shut.
Abigail Mamo, chief executive of the Chamber of SMEs, confirmed when contacted on Friday that this was the sentiment of most shop owners.
“For the absolute majority, business is either very slow or they are seeing close to no activity at all. Businesses are losing money,” she said, adding that the issue of rents was very serious.
“Shops have a thousand worries at the moment but rent is the top concern,” she said.
Flights should only be restarted if deemed safe by the health authorities – Delia
Any decisions related to the re-launching of flights to and from Malta should only be taken if doing so is deemed safe by the public health authorities, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said on Saturday.
Interviewed by The Malta Independent journalist Rebekah Cilia, Delia said that, so far, decisions taken by the government were determined by the Covid-19 r-factor, and this should not change.
The government is currently discussing opening ‘safe travel corridors’ with nine countries that have successfully managed the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Times speaks to concerned business owners who reported that there has been little activity since they reopened shop this month. Some said that they are losing more money on utilities by keeping their stores open.
The Independent speaks to financial advisor Jesmond Mizzi who said that investors in Malta are typically resilient and ‘do not panic at the first sign of a crisis’. Mizzi discusses opportunities for investment throughout this period.
L-Orizzont speaks to General Workers Union secretary general Josef Bugeja who welcomed the news that Malta has the fifth-lowest rate of precarious jobs in the EU. Bugeja said that the struggle is now shifting to guaranteeing jobs.
In-Nazzjon features the death of renowned pâtissier Elia Borg Bonaci who on Friday, lay in state in St Joseph High Street, Ħamrun where he opened his confectionery and spent most of his days. The paper says many residents gave him their final farewell.
The Independent reveals that several public sector employees will not receive work- related allowances including time-in-lieu overtime, disturbance, or transport allowance for the period that they have been working from home.
L-Orizzont carries an interview with transgender person Cristina Bellizzi who said that Malta took ‘giant steps’ in the area of LGBTQI rights. Bellizzi said that outlawing conversion therapy, especially, had a significant meaning.
The Times says that Malta is exploring the idea of tourism corridors with countries that were not heavily impacted by the outbreak. The nine proposed countries are Luxembourg, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Israel.
In-Nazzjon says that a third Captain Morgan boat has set out to assist migrants adrift in Maltese waters. The paper claims that the public expenditure rises up to €9,000 daily, but there has not been a public call for the service.
L-Orizzont quotes Josef Bugeja after it was announced that veteran trade unionist Anthony Busuttil died. The union secretary general said that Busuttil instilled in him the values of trade unionism.
Protests in Slovenia, as Covid-19 epidemic ‘end’ declaration is labelled ‘economic’ and unhealthy
Thousands of cyclists took over the centre of Ljubljana once again on Friday to protest against Slovenia‘s centre-right government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa, less than a day after the government called an end to the coronavirus epidemic, while loosening restrictions.
The opposition is heaping criticism on the government over its late night decision on Thursday to declare the coronavirus epidemic in Slovenia over. The move is seen as motivated by finances and as confusing the population about how to behave, The Slovenia Times reports.
The party feels such lack of planning does not bode well for the coming months, while it also expressed concern about how those left without work or income will survive in June. SAB head Alenka Bratušek also spoke of a “financial decree” that terminates most of the aid measures on 1 June, while she also believes it could be questionable in terms of expertise.
EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU
European Parliament urges EU Commission to set up €2 trillion investment package
The European Parliament on Friday urged the European Commission to set up a €2 trillion investment package to tackle the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that would provide “mostly” grants and be financed through recovery bonds.
“European citizens must be at the heart of the recovery strategy”, MEPs stress, adding that Parliament will stand firm in defending citizens’ interests. The recovery efforts must have a strong social dimension, addressing social and economic inequalities and the needs of those hardest hit by the crisis.
Parliament insists that the new “recovery and transformation fund” must be of €2 trillion in size, be financed “through the issuance of long-dated recovery bonds” and be “disbursed through loans and, mostly, through grants, direct payments for investment and equity.” They urge the Commission not to use “dubious multipliers to advertise ambitious figures”, and not resort to “financial wizardry”, as the EU’s credibility is at stake.
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.