Press Conference by Health Superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci (17th May, 1230)
Seven new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, taking Malta’s total to 553. With four recoveries, the number of active cases has edged up to 93. The Health Ministry has published this information on its Facebook, anticipating the Health Superintendent’s Press Conference for the second consecutive day.
From her end, Prof Charmaine Gauci said that most of the new cases were asymptomatic, with two of the new cases concerning employees working in retail outlets. Four were foreigners, coming from Serbia, Italy, the Philippines and India.
A 55-year old Maltese man currently recovering from other conditions at Mater Dei was infected following contact with another person who was identified as positive in the past few days. Questioned by journalists, Prof Gauci said that the ward was different from the one in which a number of cases were identified earlier this week, named in the media as the ENT.
1,429 tests were carried out yesterday.
Restaurants and hairdressers to be allowed to re-open within a few days – PM Abela
Speaking on One Television this morning, PM Robert Abela hinted that restaurants and services such as hairdressing will be allowed to open in the coming days. He downplayed concerns that the number of coronavirus cases spiked over the past days, saying that this happened after that testing numbers increased threefold.
Abela insisted that thanks to investment carried out in the past years as well as prior to the pandemic reaching our shores, the country was ready for any eventuality.
He indicated that further measures will be eased in the coming days and warned against scaremongering related to the second wave. The PM said it was completely fine to spend time at the beach as long as social distancing measures were respected. The PM assured viewers that prior to the re-opening of educational institutions, Government will ensure that these places are secure and will be observing specific health protocols.
Robert Abela also announced, during his interview on Labour media, that Government will be terminating the process to purchase a pre-fabricated hospital. This decision, he said, has been taken following “the advice of the health authorities”.
MALTA-24: LOCAL NEWS
44% want lockdown measures to be eased
Nearly half the Maltese now want the lockdown measures to be relaxed but an overwhelming number of respondents disagree with the possibility of reopening overseas travel, according to a survey commissioned by Times of Malta.
A total of 44% of respondents agree that the government should start relaxing partial lockdown measures, a considerable increase over the previous study two weeks ago when only 26% were in agreement. A total of 47% insist the measures should not be relaxed, down from 66% two weeks ago. And almost one in three workers employed in the private sector are fearful about job security because of the pandemic, an increase of 13% in just two weeks.
A total of 65% of respondents who are currently in employment do not fear losing their jobs. Nineteen per cent are fearful for their jobs, an increase of 8% over the previous survey. A total 84% of those in the public sector are not fearful/ not fearful at all as opposed to 52% of those in the private sector.
The number in the public sector that are fearful has remained consistent at 5%. But a total of 28% of private sector workers now say they are fearful about their job situation. Despite the help given so far, a total of 71% expect the government to come up with more financial assistance to support the economy.
If COVID-19 case numbers are sustained in coming days, we are in second wave –
If the daily number of new Covid-19 cases in Malta remains sustained over the coming days, then it would mean that the country is in a second wave of the virus, statistician Vincent Marmara told The Malta Independent on Sunday.
Speaking in his weekly exclusive video blog with the newspaper, Marmara noted the increase in cases this past week when compared to the new cases over the past three weeks. The reproduction ratio of the virus is one of the key figures which countries across the world have been trying to reduce ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The aim for countries has been to reduce the ratio to a level of 1 – which would mean that one person would transmit the virus to one other person.
Marmara said that if the 70-day period since the virus first appeared in Malta had to be taken as a whole, then the effective reproduction number as things stand would be below 1.
However, if only the last three weeks are considered in the mathematical model, then it shows a reproduction ratio which is above 1. Therefore, he said, one must analyse whether this increase in cases will be sustained in order to understand whether this is indeed a second wave or not.
Nurses pen COVID-19 appeal to Prime Minister: Do not reopen Malta to tourism
Malta’s nurses’ union has penned an appeal to Prime Minister Robert Abela to rule out any ‘safe tourism corridors’ in summer.
The appeal comes after a vague set of proposals from the European Commission to plan for a ‘European summer’ appears to have been followed up by suggestions from tourism minister Julia Farrugia for some form of tourism from “safe” countries with a low incidence of the coronavirus.
But Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses boss Paul Pace said he was shocked that the government could consider the option.
“This is purely a political measure from an economic perspective which can have huge repercussions on the lives of all those living on the Maltese islands,” Pace said. “Prime Minister… are you ready to take such a risk…? Simple misjudgement can lead to hundreds of lives being lost.”
Malta Today reveals that the EU Commission’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs spoke with Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo about migrants held aboard two tourist boats. The government is seeking mandatory migrant-sharing among EU states.
The Independent on Sunday claims that a minister’s wife and a PL electoral candidate sit on a three-member police complaints board. Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri confirmed the information but said that changes are being discussed.
It-Torċa compares ten key economic indicators this year with the same period in 2019 to assess the impact of Covid-19. The paper says the results show that the effects of the pandemic are largely being controlled.
Illum says that 64 business owners representing 130 retail stores have written to the Prime Minister appealing for help and a plan. The letter describes the current situation as ‘catastrophic’ and businesses say they are facing bankruptcy.
Kullħadd says that TV presenter Karl Stagno Navarra requested the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life to investigate Opposition MP Karol Aquilina for obstruction of order following claims that the MP disrupted a police escort last year.
Il-Mument says that the Opposition will, on Monday, publish its proposals on the Constitutional reform. Opposition Leader Adrian Delia urged the government to ‘take a step back’ and listen to people.
The Sunday Times says that Malta is dragging its feet over the nomination of candidates to join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, forcing the delay of the establishment of the anti-corruption entity.
Malta Today says that the fisheries department filed a criminal action against the biggest tuna ranchers in the country just as the EU launched infringement procedures against Malta over failure to comply with tuna fishing rules.
The Independent on Sunday says that the rumoured appointment of Tripoli’s apostolic vicar, George Bugeja, as bishop for Gozo is a compromise between allies of outgoing bishop Mario Grech and their challengers.
Illum carries an interview with Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci who answers questions about the main themes surrounding the coronavirus, including the vaccine, antibodies, and the reopening of the airport.
It-Torċa quotes Finance Minister Edward Scicluna who said that every ministry will set up an official Facebook Page as part of the government’s code of ethics. Scicluna dismissed claims that any public funds were used for the private social media profiles of ministers.
Kullħadd reports on figures by the National Statistics Office showing that €60 million is social benefits were disbursed last year. The paper says that more than half of the amount went for children’s allowance.
British PM accepts people “feel frustrated” by new coronavirus rules
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he understands that people will “feel frustrated” by some of the government’s new coronavirus rules as parts of the country begin to ease restrictions.
“We are trying to do something that has never had to be done before – moving the country out of a full lockdown, in a way which is safe and does not risk sacrificing all of your hard work,” Johnson said in an opinion piece published in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
“I recognise what we are now asking is more complex than simply staying at home, but this is a complex problem and we need to trust in the good sense of the British people.”
Johnson last week announced the government’s roadmap to ease coronavirus restrictions in England, but faced criticism for dropping the “stay at home” message and providing confusing advice about what was and was not allowed.
EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU
No-Deal Brexit gets more real as discussions stall amid Covid-19 emergency
The long winding road to Brexit got bumpier during this week. While as Euronews points out, “the EU-UK trade talks were never going to be plain sailing”, COVID-19 complicated matters. As the June deadline for significant progress is looming, key arguments remain unresolved.
From a negotiators’ perspective both chief negotiator Michel Barnier and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were personally affected.
On Friday, the third round of talks between the EU and the U.K. on their future relationship ended again with “very little progress made,” according to both sides, and plenty of hostile rhetorical flourishes, POLITICO reports.
Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost said the “major obstacle” remains the bloc’s “insistence” on the U.K. abiding by EU laws and standards in exchange for access to its single market. The U.K. continues to oppose this demand, arguing Brussels does not require this of other countries it has signed free-trade deals with, such as Canada.
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.