Press Conference by Health Superintendent Prof. Charmaine Gauci (20th May, 1230)
Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci returns to the media table after missing out for the first time in weeks yesterday.
Five more persons have recovered yesterday, taking this particular total to 465. 15 new cases were identified yesterday, taking the tally to 584. There are currently 113 active cases in Malta. The R factor was back to above 1.
Of the 26 cases registered between Monday and Tuesday, 10 had displayed symptoms. These include a couple of two-year old children. The cases also include a Gozitan healthcare worker who works at the General Hospital in Gozo.
Among the other cases, five were identified through contact tracing after being in contact with previously-identified patients.
12 cases of the 26 cases were asymptomatic and include a number of healthcare workers and carers who were identified through the screening process in place in the respective hospitals. Prof Gauci said that roughly 15% of all cases of coronavirus identified in Malta were on patients displaying no symptoms.
We cannot remain in a state of emergency – Chamber of Commerce
‘The country needs to find a new sense of competitiveness and an energy of resilience to successfully navigate the post-Covid realities’ said Perit David Xuereb, President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry today during a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition at Dar Ċentrali in Pieta’.
The current economic disruption which is resulting in great hardships for businesses and citizens alike were top on the agenda of the discussion during the meeting.
The Chamber delegation insisted on the importance of the country being given clear and safe direction on the way forward in a responsible and structured manner. At the same time the country ought to continue to give due weight to the nation’s economic needs as well as the physical and mental health of our people.
#MALTA-24: LOCAL NEWS
This could be the start of a second wave – health professionals
Malta’s number of COVID-19 cases per capita is now higher than that in hotspots such as Italy and Spain and the country could be at the start of a second wave of infections, public health professionals have said.
The Malta Association of Public Health Medicine said that the coronavirus’ local reproduction rate – its R factor – had risen above one in the past week, with an increase in the number of new cases during the first transition phase from the COVID-19 emergency. “Our number of new cases per capita is higher than that of Italy, Spain, Germany, and France. We may now very well be in the beginning of the second wave,” it said in a statement.
Malta had 103 active COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday morning. Ten days ago, it had just 58. The number of new daily cases identified has been in double digits for four out of the last seven days.
Virologist Chris Barbara’s warning on COVID-19 relaxation: ‘Now’s the time for more discipline, not less’
Virologist Chris Barbara has declared that re-opening restaurants and hairdressers will provide more opportunities for the COVID-19 virus to spread. But he has acknowledged the need to strike a balance between economy and health, calling on the general public not to let down their guard at this sensitive moment.
“This is a time for greater, not less discipline… the easing of restrictions on economic activities like restaurants and hairdressers has to be accompanied by even greater vigilance and adherence to social distancing rules,” Barbara, one of the experts leading Malta’s successful COVID-19 fightback, said.
He insisted that the public can still keep the virus in check and even avoid a second wave if it sticks to social distancing rules.
‘We have to return to normality; we cannot let fear take us over’ – MHRA president
The President of the Malta Hoteliers and Restaurant Associations (MHRA), Tony Zahra called for a return to normality and to not let “project fear take us over”, and Paul Pace stating that with the airport open one doesn’t live with the virus, but dies with the virus.
The two Presidents were asked by The Malta Independent whether they stuck to their respective statements issued over the airport with regards to the opening of the Malta International Airport, which has been closed since mid-March as a measure to mitigate the importation of Covid-19 into the country.
Zahra said that after the opening of restaurants on Monday, the opening of the airport should be the next step, adding that the MHRA had penned the 15th of June as a target for this to happen.
He said that while Monday’s measures will bring a degree of domestic tourism into consideration, the effect of this will be negligible in Malta and only major in Gozo. He noted that this means that if the airport is not re-opened then there will be serious problems for the industry.
Malta Today reveals that the government is threatening to veto the appointment of the commander nominated to run Operation Irini unless EU countries burden-sharing of migrants kept on tourist boats on Hurds Bank.
The Times reports that Nexia BT has been licenced by the Digital Innovation Authority to perform auditing of internal IT systems of high-risk entities such as cryptocurrency exchanges.
The Independent says that the union of nurses, the association of hoteliers and restaurateurs, and the Chamber of Commerce are satisfied with the further relaxation of Covid-19 measures announced on Monday.
L-Orizzont quotes Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli who said that infringement of safety protocols by catering establishments will not be tolerated when they return to business this weekend.
In-Nazzjon reports that business owners expected to reopen on Friday fear that new safety regulations announced by the Malta Tourism Authority will increase their costs and make it difficult for them to operate at a profit.
The Independent speaks to a representative of the Federation of Hair and Beauty who said that some of the requirements for hair salons announced by the government may be difficult to apply by most businesses in the area.
The Times says that official guidelines for hairdressers require them to obtain water test certificates before reopening, which takes at least a week. Representatives of hair salons said the issue was causing confusion as to whether they are allowed to open this week.
Malta Today quotes Opposition spokesperson Jason Azzopardi that a reduction of a prison sentence to a former prosecutor charged with money laundering constitutes a ‘judicial scandal’ and called for an investigation by the Commission for the Administration of Justice.
In-Nazzjon covers a meeting between the Nationalist Party and the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the way forward after the pandemic. PN Leader Adrian Delia said that the country needs to create new economic opportunities.
L-Orizzont speaks to restaurant owners who think that it is too soon to reopen with the current number of active coronavirus cases. Restaurateurs are concerned about the safety of their employees and patrons.
The Times of Malta calls for more transparency with regard to health-related information, particularly concerning the situation at Mater Dei Hospital. It is a pity, denounces the Editor, that the whole hospital is being tarred with the same brush when it may be only one or two departments in that vast edifice that are affected. If the health authorities want people to keep their appointments and follow up on investigations, they must be as transparent as possible as the fear of the unknown is much greater when people do not make decisions based on clear facts.
Maltatoday calls for caution throughout the re-opening of the economy, with isolation fatigue potentially a precursor to reckless behaviour, unless kept in check through controlled pressure release. The Editor calls for the transition out of partial lockdown to be handled with extreme care.
The Independent looks at two touching stories from abroad, with a 113-year old person recovering from the virus in Spain, while a nine year old boy lost his life in France. The Editor feels disappointed that the death story attracted six times the clicks of the survival, showing that the population has become more attracted to tragedies than miracles.
In-Nazzjon focuses on developments within the Maltese Army, arguing that previous Nationalist administration had invested substantial in this force. It criticizes the Labour Government for politicizing both the Army as well as a number of episodes surrounding it.
L-Orizzont highlights the benefits of a cleaner environment and calls for further reduction in air pollution. It notes that despite the coronavirus pandemic creating significant challenges for the economy, on the brighter side it allowed the public to finally enjoy some fresh, clean air. It calls on the authorities to invest further in cleaner air, particularly through reforms in transport, mobility and energy generation.
Corporatedispatch.com – Ci Consulta Relaunch Made in Malta
In our Editorial, we take a look at the current transitional phase and argue that while we all came together to surmount the peak of the pandemic, we must keep together to overcome the economic fallout.
UK tourism chief backs call for ‘air bridges
The head of the UK’s national tourism agency has thrown her weight behind setting up so-called air bridges with countries with low coronavirus rates.
Visit Britain chief executive Patricia Yates told MPs it was an “interesting” idea and indicated the US could be open to agreeing a deal.
Air bridges would allow visitors from low-risk countries into the UK without having to quarantine for 14 days. A government spokesperson said air bridges were “not an agreed policy.” He said: “Work on this is continuing… ultimately we will be guided by the science and the health of the public must come first.” Transport secretary Grant Shapps suggested on Monday that the government’s plan to quarantine people arriving in the UK for two weeks could include exceptions.
EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU
MEPs call for stronger financial outlay and quick action to avoid huge recession The European Members of Parliament welcomed the recent proposal for a €500 billion recovery fund brought forward earlier this week by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling for decisive actions at the earliest possible in a bid to avoid that the economic fallout having significant social repercussions.
During a Webinar organised yesterday afternoon by the European Parliament on the EU’s long term budget and recovery plan, MEPs insisted that real solidarity was needed and called for an end of bickering between Member States on the financial package and to focus on the immediate and long-term needs of the bloc. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen is expected to present the revised Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and recovery plan proposals and hold a debate in plenary session on the afternoon of Wednesday 27 May.
Johan Van Overtveldt the Chair of the Committee on Budgets, argued that the current economic situation might be getting out of hand and demanded quick action: “COVID-19 is still is a major health crisis, and we realise that, slowly but surely, it is transforming into a huge recession. In the coming days and weeks, we have to work out how to reconcile solidarity with responsibility. He warned that if through the collective efforts of the Union and Member States “we don’t stop the recession in its tracks as soon as possible, we might be confronted with what I define as a new financial hurricane.”
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.