Update by the Ministry of Health
Fifteen new cases were identified in the past 24 hours, resulting from 1358 swab tests. The Ministry of Health announced three further recoveries, meaning that the number of active cases now stands at 15.
The country stands at one case short of reaching its 600.
Portals LovinMalta.com and Newsbook.com.mt have reached out to the Ministry of Health after rumours spread like wildfire this morning that Prof Charmaine Gauci had resigned. The Ministry has denied these rumours saying there was no truth in them.
Press Statement by Chamber of Commerce
The country is anxious to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by the disruption of the current COVID19 crisis, and grow”, said the President of The Malta Chamber Perit David Xuereb today.
‘Weathering the storm is not enough at this point. We must look at this time as an opportunity, and look beyond the fog of the crisis, and see how we can turn this situation in our favour, and ultimately increase our country’s competitiveness as a result. The end goal and everyone’s ambition is to truly make a success of the new norm’.
President Xuereb noted that all considerations of physical and mental health needed to be given utmost importance, as the Chamber was not lobbying for the opening of the economy at all costs and in a careless manner. All decisions needed to be taken in a logical and structured way, based on scientific evidence.
However, the country needed to incentivise creative thinking in order to move out of the state of emergency and start growing afresh.
The measures which were presented by the Malta Chamber in support of the Think Tank, provided concrete proposals on how Government was urged to address determinate subjects such as meeting liquidity needs, mobilising labour supply, incentivising business activity, jumpstarting the economy, a shift in mindset and finally stimulating innovation.
#MALTA-24: LOCAL NEWS
Healthcare workers unite against reopening after 15 new COVID-19 cases
Healthcare workers have come together to urge the government to rethink its decision to reopen restaurants and hairdressers on Friday as 15 new COVID-19 cases were registered over night.
Doctors, nurses, as well as the UHM, which represents other healthcare professionals, say the spike in numbers in recent days meant it was no longer safe to do so.
The healthcare workers’ call comes as the Health Ministry on Thursday announced 15 new cases, with only three recoveries. These bring the total number of active cases to 125, the highest in weeks.
Positive that some restaurants decided to not reopen – Chamber of Commerce
The decision by some restaurant owners not to reopen on Friday shows that Malta’s businesses are not taking an “open at all costs” approach, the Chamber said.
In a press briefing on the series of post-coronavirus economic measures the Chamber had presented to government, president David Xuereb noted many restaurant owners were being responsible and only re-opening for business if they truly believe it is safe to do so.
“It’s good that we don’t have cowboys attitudes where we open at all costs. That is good news for Malta.
“This will show that Malta is truly disciplined. The worst thing we can have is to start the reopening process and maybe having to backtrack or sanction operators,” Xuereb said.
Nationalist Party proposes bipartisan social pact for economic recovery
A bipartisan task force should be set up to craft a social pact for economic recovery, the Nationalist Party has proposed. The PN said the task force should include government and Opposition representatives, unions, employer organisations and civil society representatives.
Opposition leader Adrian Delia and economy spokesperson Claudio Grech outlined the party’s proposal on Wednesday afternoon in what they described as “a plan for Malta”.
The Malta Business Weekly reports that that confidence in most business sectors in Malta was showing a decline even before the coronavirus outbreak. The Economic Sentiment Indicator for the first quarter fell slightly from the long-term average.
The Independent quotes a WHO study which finds that adolescents in Malta have one of the lowest rates of life satisfaction as well as the highest rates of obesity compared the counterparts in the EU and Canada.
The Times leads with a judicial protest against the Prime Minister, the Home Affairs Minister, and the Armed Forces commander filed by relatives of immigrants who died last month in Malta’s search and rescue area.
In-Nazzjon covers the launch of an economic recovery plan based on ten priorities by the Nationalist Party. PN Leader Adrian Delia said that the “Plan for Malta” document has been built from a wide consultation process.
L-Orizzont reports that medical products company Baxter is recruiting 100 new employees. Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said that the government will continue to work with the private sector to turn challenges into opportunities.
The Times says that the investigation into a traffic police racket will focus on the leaders and serial offenders, and most of the arrested suspects are expected to be cleared of charges. Three officers have already been exonerated and reported back to work.
L-Orizzont reports that the next 48 hours are critical for child Emily Gatt who is battling a tumour. The paper says that her 10-hour surgery was more successful than what many people were expecting.
The Times of Malta looks at the prospects of the hotels and restaurant sector this Summer, arguing that such businesses should look beyond Government support in trying to revive their fortunes. The paper has scanned some hotel websites and found out that the prices being quote are still on the levels of last year. They should rather be encouraging local tourists who after spending months in lockdown might be attracted with the idea of spending some time in a local hotel, if costs are reasonable.
Business Today takes a cautious approach but generally welcomes the easing of restrictions applicable from tomorrow, given the necessary control and mitigation measures. The Editor argues that vigilance, testing, identification of suspect cases and isolation remain important tools to manage the pandemic well and they must not be set aside. Within this context, it makes sense that the reopening of restaurants, hairdressers, beauticians, barbers, hotels and outdoor pools came with strict protocols to ensure that social distancing and good hygiene levels are maintained.
The Independent is not too convinced with the authorities’ strategy with regards to the re-opening of a number of outlets. The Editor notes a significant discrepancy between the words of the Prime Minister, who said that officers will mostly focus on education rather than strict observation of a few rules, on the next day, authorities published a myriad of documentation, with the Tourism Minister warning that outlets stand to lose their licencing for repeated offences.
L-Orizzont welcomes the easing of restrictions which come into effect as from tomorrow, describing this moment as a return to better quality of life. The Editor expresses conviction that such decisions have been taken after long discussions and analysis with the relevant experts.
In-Nazzjon pushes for a stronger role for the wider community including the Opposition and Parliament in the drawing up of plans for the re-start of Malta’s economy. The Editor insists that the re-opening of the economy will not solve the current challenges from one day to the next, and it is for this reason that an open- ended discussion needs to take place on the next steps.
AstraZeneca could begin supply of potential COVID-19 vaccine in September
AstraZeneca Plc said on Thursday it had received the first agreements to supply at least 400 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford and plans to begin supplying it in September. The British drug maker said it has a total capacity sourced for one billion doses through 2020 and into 2021, and continues to increase capacity further.
In addition, the Company is engaging with international organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO), for the fair allocation and distribution of the vaccine around the world. AstraZeneca is also in discussions with governments around the world to increase access.
EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU
EU calls on Malta to invest in green and digital transition in country-specific recommendations
The Commission has proposed today country-specific recommendations (CSRs) providing economic policy guidance to all EU Member States in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, focused on the most urgent challenges brought about by the pandemic and on relaunching sustainable growth.
The recommendations are structured around two objectives: in the short-term, mitigating the coronavirus pandemic’s severe negative socio-economic consequences; and in the short to medium-term, achieving sustainable and inclusive growth which facilitates the green transition and the digital transformation.
2020 Country-Specific Recommendations for Malta
In line with the general escape clause, take all necessary measures to effectively address the pandemic, sustain the economy and support the ensuing recovery. When economic conditions allow, pursue fiscal policies aimed at achieving prudent medium-term fiscal positions and ensuring debt sustainability, while enhancing investment.
Strengthen the resilience of the health system with regard to the health workforce, critical medical products and primary care.
Consolidate short-time work arrangements and ensure the adequacy of unemployment protection for all workers. Strengthen the quality and inclusiveness of education and skills development.
Ensure effective implementation of liquidity support to affected businesses, including the self-employed. Front-load mature public investment projects and promote private investment to foster the economic recovery. Focus investment on the green and digital transition, in particular on clean and efficient production and use of energy, sustainable transport, waste management, research and innovation.
Complete reforms addressing current shortcomings in institutional capacity and governance to enhance judicial independence. Continue efforts to adequately assess and mitigate money laundering risks and to ensure effective enforcement of the anti- money laundering framework. Step up action to address features of the tax system that facilitate aggressive tax planning by individuals and multinationals.
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.