19.05.20 Covid-19 Update



Update by the Ministry of Health

The number of active coronavirus cases in Malta has gone up to 103, as 11 new cases were identified in the past 24 hours. Malta has now seen a total of 569 cases, with 460 recovering.

In the first day without a briefing by Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci since the onset of the crisis, the Health Ministry announced through its social media platforms that 1519 swab testes were carried out in the past 24 hours.

Easing of restrictions from this Friday, 22nd May 

Yesterday evening Prime Minister Robert Abela announced a further easing of restrictions applicable from this Friday. These include:

  • Six people will be able to gather in public, while respecting social
  • The organisation of open-air cinemas, respecting a 2 metre distance from one
  • Restaurants, snack bars and cafeterias will be allowed to re-open, with tables not exceeding six persons, with specific protocols establishing distances between Priority should be given to outdoor seating.
  • Hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and nail artists will be allowed to re-open, following a restrictive
  • The provision of additional medical services which had been cancelled or postponed in order to focus Malta’s health resources in the fight against the A number of services had already resumed earlier this month. As from Friday, a number of services will be provided, these include the re-opening ofdiabetic clinics, cardiology clinics as well as well-baby clinics. A number of ofHealth Centres will be opening as well as clinics offering mental health support. Outpatients services at Mater Dei will increase, together with services related toMRIs, ultrasounds, X-rays as well as non-critical operations and IVF services.Partners of pregnant women will be able to be present throughout all the birth process.
  • Sport: Individual non-contact sports will be This includes diving and tennis. Training sessions of up to six athletes will be allowed. Gyms will not be allowed to re-open for now.
  • Funeral masses will
  • Outdoor pools will re-open, with restrictions on the number of people who will be allowed to swim at the same time, which will be equivalent to half the amount usually stipulated by
  • Hotels will be allowed to re-open for the local
  • Open air markets will be allowed to re-open.
  • The recommendations protecting the elderly and vulnerable persons remain in

New rules for catering establishments and salons

Catering establishments and hotels will require a  go-ahead certificate (“compliance safety protocol”) from the Authority which will need to be affixed to the entrance of the establishment. Outlets failing to observe this protocol may be stripped of their licence. Inspections will be held simultaneous by the tourism and health authorities, with a unit within OPM ensuring coordination.

Tables are to be limited to groups of not more than six persons or persons from the same household.

The team at CI Consulta has prepared a detailed review of key changes applicable for catering establishments. This can be reviewed here.

New rules have also been drawn up for hairdressing and barbering salons. We have prepared a summary of the key requirements here.

Malta Chamber welcomes easing of restrictions

 The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry welcomed the further relaxation of measures allowing for the rekindling of the economy, as announced by the Prime Minister tonight.

In a statement, the Chamber said that the announcements of this evening are seen as a step in this direction, which will hopefully inject confidence in our society.

The Malta Chamber calls on all economic operators as well as members of the public to exercise maximum discipline and strictly observe the protocols as put in place by the country’s Health Authorities.



Doctors warn that COVID-19 situation is not ‘as stable as claimed’

Doctors said on Tuesday they have not been consulted on the transition measures regarding the health service announced on Monday and their impact on the health and safety of medical personnel.

In a statement, the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) said it will be asking for urgent meetings with management.

MAM said it appreciated the government’s effort to gradually relaunch the economy and secure people’s as much as possible.

However, it felt that the serious medical risks arising from such measures could only be prevented by honest and unbiased information, strict discipline on social distancing, and hygiene which is regulated and vigorously enforced with fines.

“The mistakes made with the voluntary quarantine following air travel should not be repeated. Furthermore full and honest information should be provided to clients about potential risks, it said.

The government will be discussing amendments to Malta’s employment laws with social partners, with a view to drafting a legislative framework that caters for current and future employment needs.

This was said on Tuesday by Carmelo Abela, minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, during a webinar organised by the Malta Chamber of SMEs. The webinar concerned working conditions and regulations in the time of COVID-19.

Abela urged employers to keep an open channel of communication with their employees at all times, to help them understand the situation better, mitigate fears, and find alternative solutions, where required.

Non-essential services such as restaurants and hairdressers will reopen as of Friday as part of the second phase of relaxation of COVID-19 measures. Non-essential shops were reopened two weeks ago.


Shops no longer obliged to stop vulnerable people from entering – Chris Fearne

Shops will no longer be legally obliged to stop the elderly and vulnerable from entering as government ditches the big brother approach adopted two weeks ago.

The air was finally cleared by Health Minister Chris Fearne on Monday when asked about the legal obligation imposed on non-essential retail outlets that were allowed to re-open a fortnight ago.

People aged 65 and over, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions were listed as vulnerable people at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were encouraged to stay at home and only go out for essential errands.

The obligation on shops to stop vulnerable people caused confusion among retailers and angered the elderly and some pregnant women who were refused entry into some establishments.

Shops will now no longer be forced to police people who enter their outlets but can refuse entry to anyone not wearing a mask or visibly sick.


In-Nazzjon quotes Health Minister Chris Fearne who said that the virus is still around, and everyone must work together to prevent a second wave. He said that the lifting of restrictions can be reversed if there is a surge in cases.

L-Orizzont reports that a 97-year-old man was among the five new Covid-19 cases discovered on Monday. The total number of patients from the beginning of the outbreak stands at 558 and there are 96 active cases.

The Independent speaks to Chamber of SMEs CEO Abigail Mamo who said that sales at retail shops that were allowed to reopen at the beginning of the month are still low. A group of retailers have written to the Prime Minister asking for help.

In-Nazzjon reports the publication of proposals by the Opposition on Constitutional reform. Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said that the recommendations seek to empower citizens and to ensure that politicians truly serve the country.

The Times says that the Football Association decided to end the season on Monday after authorities could not give assurances that the sport would be allowed to return in June. Association officials will now meet to decide on the conclusions of the competitions.

L-Orizzont says that Victim Support Malta assisted people with 43 suicide attempts in one year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the suicide prevention service run by VSM received six requests for help.


The Times of Malta takes cue from the recent death of Ronnie Ghiller, who was injected with an undisclosed chemical by police trying to calm him. This unfortunate episode – which still has many questions to be answered – also raised the concern of mental health problems in our community. The Editor argues that this tragic event presents the nation with an important opportunity to pause and consider the need for preventative and early intervention strategies, especially when it comes to effectively addressing the challenges of mental health and its treatment.

The Malta Independent discusses the recent decision to cancel the ordering of a pre- fabricated hospital. The Editor recalls that no more than a few weeks ago, health authorities were insisting on the absolute need for this hospital, irrespective of Covid. The Editorial argues that certain statements made by the health authorities and politicians throughout the course of this virus have created confusion. Now the government has denied contradictions between the PM and the health authorities in the past, however the way the messages are being delivered is creating confusion nonetheless.

In-Nazzjon argues that the Prime Minister’s sudden change of heart and the consequent decision of re-opening outlets such as catering establishments and hairdressers showed that Robert Abela was acting contrary to the health interests as promoted by Minister Fearne and the Health Superintendent.

L-Orizzont also shares its opinion on the recent decisions to relax restrictive measures, stating that these have been taken after wide consultation with all stakeholders involved. The Editor argues that it was not legitimate to expect government to continue to cover support measures for a long time, and therefore a degree of opening was necessary at this stage.


UN Chief slams countries for ignoring WHO advice

“Many countries have ignored the recommendations of the World Health Organization”, António Guterres, the UN Chief, complained today. “As a result, the virus has spread across the world and is now moving into the Global South, where its impact may be even more devastating, and we are risking further spikes and waves.”

Addressing World Health Organization (WHO) Member States attending the foreshortened and virtual World Health Assembly in Geneva via videoconference, the UN chief pointed out that despite “some solidarity”, there had been “very little unity” in the global response to the new coronavirus so far.

Because of this, “a microscopic virus has brought us to our knees,” he said, before reiterating his support for the “irreplaceable” WHO.

Likening the “sometimes contradictory” strategies adopted by countries to a global failure to address climate change, Mr. Guterres repeated his call for more nations to address the pandemic’s health impact and economic and social fallout. “Unless we control the spread of the virus, the economy will never recover”, he explained.

EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU

France, Germany propose €500 bln Recovery Fund to be fully financed by the EU

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.

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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.