Update by Ministry of Health
One new case of coronavirus was identified on Sunday, Health authorities confirmed. Less than 600 persons were tested. Number are typically lower on weekends, particularly Sunday.
Three persons have since recovered, lowering the country’s total active cases to 73.
Press briefing cancelled
Today’s briefing by Prof Charmaine Gauci was not held as scheduled at 1230 hrs. Sections of the press have reported that the Health Superintendent is scheduled to meet the Prime Minister shortly. A joint press conference this evening.
The briefing was called off just a few minutes before live transmission was expected to commence.
UK, Italy not included in first list of countries where flights will be allowed to/from Malta
Timesofmalta.com this morning reveals the first 16 countries where travel will be allowed as from 1st July. This list has not been officially confirmed.
Italy and the UK are excluded.
The countries are: Iceland, Slovakia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg, Germany, Ireland, Finland and the Czech Republic.
The report also claims that according to its sources, Poland, Portugal and non-mainland Italy (Sicily and Sardinia) will be considered at a later stage.
MUMN accuses PM of falsely informing people Covid is over
The Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses joined the chorus of disapproval with regards to the next round of easing of restrictions announced yesterday by the Prime Minister as well as the decision to grant an amnesty to those fined for contravening social distancing regulations.
The MUMN has challenged the Prime Minister to publish the strategy on the easing of the restrictions for the pandemic issued to his office by the Superintendent of Public Health. The Union said it had no trust that the PM was following public health advice. It described this approach as opportunistic and at the detriment of frontliners, the elderly and vulnerable persons.
The Union said that with the opening of the airport, all vulnerable people, hospital workers and the elderly are being put in unnecessary risk of their lives. The harshly-worded statement said that “Malta has a Prime Minister who issues amnesties to those who broke Covid measures, informs his people that Covid is over which is a totally a false statement and does nothing to protect the health care workers, the vulnerable and the elderly.”
Re-opening of airports against advice of public health experts – doctors
The Prime Minister’s decision to re-open Malta’s airport in a month’s time was met with disapproval by the Medical Association of Malta. The doctors’ union said that this decision went against the advice of public health experts and was not scientifically- based.
The doctors recalled that three persons lost their lives last week and local transmission was likely to increase with the arrival of tourists. In a statement, doctors argued that “rushing to reverse the measures which have kept the virus in check, places additional risk to health, undermines public confidence and may be counterproductive to the economic recovery. “Public health specialists in Malta have done a great job at controlling COVID-19 and deviations recommended by politicians represent an unnecessary gamble with lives of the Maltese”.
The Malta Association of Public Health Medicine and the Malta Environmental Health Officers Association have also issued statements to express their concern at Government’s announcement.
#MALTA-24: LOCAL NEWS
Local virus immunity is low, early data suggest
Immunity to COVID-19 in the Maltese population is likely to be on the low side, according to early indications from a local study.
Extensive research into this crucial aspect of the fight against the novel coronavirus has reached its final stages.
Malta’s immunity rate will be announced in the coming days, Mater Dei Hospital’s pathology department head professor Chris Barbara said.
Barbara said some of the data was still being reviewed and the numbers being computed, but he suggested the immunity rate could be much lower than in some other countries because “the people were protected”.
Pharma firm Alvogen makes almost half its Malta workforce redundant
Generics pharmaceutical firm Alvogen has terminated the jobs of almost half its Malta workforce, MaltaToday has learnt.
The San Ġwann-based company, which employed 39 people, informed 18 full-time employees last Friday that they were being made redundant.
The redundancies have nothing to do with COVID-19 and were the result of a reduction in the international business of the company, according to industry sources.
Alvogen opened its regional headquarters in Malta in 2015, absorbing a lot of the workers that had been made redundant by Actavis when it closed its research and development arm in 2013.
Reopening airport step in right direction – MHRA
The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Assocation (MHRA) stated that the airport re-opening is a step in the right direction, although it stands with its original position that opening it on the 15th June would have been better for the tourism sector.
The MHRA President, Tony Zahra, stated that time is of the essence, but now that the decision has been made, all entities must gear up towards reigniting the tourism industry. Zahra stressed that hotels and restaurants still need the Government’s support to get back on their feet, and that the weeks ahead will be challenging.
The Independent reports on the Prime Minister’s announcements that the airport and ports will reopen as from July 1. Restrictions on gyms, bars and the law courts will be lifted by the end of the week.
L-Orizzont says that the government will, on Monday, present a new budget to stimulate the economy. The Prime Minister said that the new financial package will reward both businesses and consumers.
The Times quotes Prime Minister Robert Abela who said that deposits over the past weeks have soared. He said that now that the “coronavirus is behind us” people should feel confident to start spending again.
In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Adrian Delia who said that the party’s priority is rising unemployment and struggling businesses. Delia called on the government to provide immediate assistance to those living in uncertainty.
L-Orizzont follows the trends in the rate of coronavirus infections. The highest number of cases was reported on the 15th April, with 352 patients, while the lowest number since then was recorded on the 10th May with 58 active cases.
The Times quotes a report by the World Health Organisation which found that 15-year- olds in Malta feel the highest pressure from homework among peers in Europe. The rate is higher among girls, 80 percent of whom said they feel under pressure.
The Times of Malta asks whether remote working is here to stay, quoting a global survey, where from over 300 business leaders, 74 per cent stated that their on-site workforce would be permanently replaced by remote positions in the aftermath of COVID-19. The Editor looks at both sides of the coin, with teleworking bringing increased efficiencies but also risks to employees’ mental health. However, the Editorial argues that benefits should not be restricted to work issues only: remote working reduces traffic and air pollution and may help men and woman share house duties and career responsibilities more equitably.
The Independent considers the economic impact of the pandemic saying that for a number of businesses it is now a matter of survival. It quotes the Chamber of SMEs who reported a few days ago that weeks after re-opening a number of business outlets had little or no activity, while costs continued to rise. The Editorial also delves into the recent commitments of EU Funding and calls for such offer not to be brushed aside but rather for Government to negotiate and seek what is best for Maltese interests.
In-Nazzjon puts is focus this Monday on unpleasant ties between Maltese officials and Azerbaijan, including the recent shady agreement exposed by local media between former PM Joseph Muscat and an Azeri think tank as well as the energy deal, signed by former Minister Konrad Mizzi that is resulting in higher utility bills for the Maltese.
The Editor at L-Orizzont tackles a favourite subject for the leading op-ed, the environment, with a focus on improvements made in this regard, particularly in terms of waste management, the promotion of electric vehicles and the increase in green public spaces among us. The Editor, while welcoming the development of new public spaces such as the extension of Ta’ Qali national park, calls for the development of such public spaces in villages and towns.
British Business Secretary insists quarantine for international travellers is important to protect the nation’s health
British Business Secretary Alok Sharma said on Monday that the quarantine for international travellers that has so angered some airlines was important to take care of the health of the country.
“We have to make sure that we are taking care of the health of the nation,” Sharma said when asked by Sky why the airline industry was being destroyed by the quarantine.
“There is going to be a three-week rolling review of the quarantine measures,” Sharma said. He did not directly answer when asked if he would be happy if the quarantine, due to begin on June 8, was scrapped.
Asked whether she thought that politicians were no longer following scientific advice, Sturgeon told Sky News: “I agree with the opinion that has been expressed over the weekend that we’ve got to be very cautious. This virus hasn’t gone away, there is still a significant risk that it could run out of control again.”
EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU
Calls for European health independence
The EPP Group wants to bring back part of the production of medicines to Europe to make it medically independent from third countries such as India and China. Also, stockpiling of certain medicines in Europe should become compulsory, like a European Emergency Pharmacy.
“The fact that about 80 percent of basic drug components, for instance for antibiotics, come from China and India, is alarming. We must step up and better protect the health of European citizens”, said the EPP Group’s Nathalie Colin-Oesterlé MEP, who drafted a parliamentary Report on the shortage of medicines, ahead of today’s debate in the European Parliament’s Environment and Health Committee.
Colin-Oesterlé wants to encourage manufacturers to relocate part of the production to Europe by setting incentives such as improved state aid rules and new criteria for public procurement.
“One of the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we must help manufacturers to produce medicines in Europe. Our state aid rules must not weaken public health and our geostrategic position. Also, making security of supply a priority criteria in public tendering procedures for medicines can be an important incentive”, said Colin-Oesterlé.
“We also need a common stockpile of medicines in Europe for treating cancer and infectious diseases. Such a European Emergency Pharmacy would make sure medicines and access to treatment is available to all patients in Europe”, she added.
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.