22.06.20 Covid-19 Update



Update by Ministry of Health

There were no new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the Health Department said. One person has been declared as recovered, meaning that active cases now stand at 39.

464 swabs were taken on Sunday.

The Department said that of 617 recoveries, 363 were males while 254 were female. The total number of cases remains at 665.



Fearne defends EU vaccine procurement after criticism

Health Minister Chris Fearne has defended a European initiative to order in bulk the coronavirus vaccines after the agreement came under fire from his Belgian counterpart.

Last Monday, EU member states Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands signed an agreement with pharmaceutical group Astra Zeneca to guarantee the supply of 300 million doses of a possible coronavirus vaccine 

Fearne told Times of Malta that while the two initiatives might have originated independently, they were not necessarily to each other’s detriment.

“The principal aim is to ensure that each member state is given access to the COVID-19 vaccine, once it is available on the market. With such a mechanism, member states are working together to access the vaccine rather than competing against each other, which is an ideal scenario for smaller states like Malta,” he said. 

“This alliance is not a sign that the European Commission acted inefficiently, rather things happened at a fast rate through collaboration between member states. One initiative does not exclude the other. Both initiatives can be done in tandem as long as citizens have access to the vaccine.”

Language schools seek clarity about 8,000 Hungarian students coming to Malta

The federation of English language schools (FELTOM) said on Monday that while it welcomed an announcement last week by Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo that the Hungarian government is planning to send 8,000 students to Malta to learn English, it had not been informed about them.

The federation asked whether the students are linked to the Tempus Project, launched by the Hungarian government towards the end of last year. The project was open to all countries that taught English, including Malta. Schools had to apply through a tender process to stand the chance of being chosen to form part of this project. 

A number of local English language teaching schools were chosen, and students were meant to come to Malta this year. Due to COVID-19 the project was postponed and should materialize in the summer of 2021.


Pope says coronavirus should spark new environmental awareness

he drastic reduction in pollution during coronavirus lockdowns around the world should lead to greater concern for the environment as restrictions are lifted, Pope Francis said on Sunday.

At his Sunday address in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said the pandemic made many people reflect on their relationship with the environment. The square reopened to the public a month ago and Italy’s last travel restrictions were lifted on June 3.

“The lockdown has reduced pollution and revealed once more the beauty of so many places free from traffic and noise. Now, with the resumption of activities, we should all be more responsible for looking after our common home,” he said, using his term for the Earth.

Air and water pollution levels plummeted in many places.

In Venice, the usually dark waters of the city’s canals were so clean because of reduced boat traffic that fish could be seen for the first time in many years.

Newspaper Review 

The Independent publishes an interview  with PN secretary general Francis Zammit Dimech who said that the party’s finances are in a stable situation. Zammit Dimech said he is encouraged by the number of individual donations.

L-Orizzont quotes a Facebook post by former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in which he denied claims that he asked Yorgen Fenech about the contents of the secret recordings made by the middleman in the Caruana Galizia case.

The Times reports on a rise in skiving by participants in a Jobs Plus scheme in Gozo managed by a General Workers Union foundation, assigning workers to local councils. Complaints by councillors about have increased since the change in minister.

In-Nazzjon follows an interview with PN Leader Adrian Delia in which he appealed for the collaboration of everyone to help rebuild the country’s reputation. Delia called on ‘genuine’ people in the Labour Party to stand up for the country’s interests.

The Independent says that students on Erasmus programmes have been given a 12- month extension to complete their studies. A spokesperson for the EU Programmes Agency said that participants have had to cancel, suspend, or postpone their programmes.

The Times speaks to Polidano Group about structural deterioration to the pedestrian bridge at the Gozo ferry terminal inaugurated in 2012. Legal adviser Jean Paul Sammut said that the company is meeting authorities over the matter this month.

L-Orizzont reports that the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the killing of George Floyd in the USA. MEPs urged the European Commission to take a firm stand against racism.


Just over a week before the end of the public health emergency in Malta, on 1st July, The Times of Malta argues that it is imperative that all eyes are wide open to the attendant health risks and that there will be no hesitation about springing back into action should the virus strike again. While the Editor seems to understand the economic needs prevalent at the current times, and that new case numbers continue to be very low, it is very evident that the virus is not a vanquished enemy, rather one that is ready to stage an ambush at any time. The experience in some of the other countries that have opened up is testimony to that.

The Independent argues that air quality has improved in Malta, not solely during lockdown days but even after restrictions have been removed. It notes that many employers have embraced teleworking, reducing the numbers of cars on the road. However, the Editor calls for further initiatives, even though proposals which so far appear far-fetched, such as the construction of a metro line, to continue to reduce our dependency on cars.

In-Nazzjon lays into the recent political scandals which engulfed the Labour Party in Government, noting how in the space of few years, two deputy leaders, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona were forced to resign for their involvement in alleged illicit activities. The Editor calls on the Labour Party to distance itself from such individuals and others who have been accused of other crimes or otherwise risk being an accomplice to crime.

L-Orizzont discusses efforts being made to support the regeneration of the tourism industry in Malta, insisting that on the first day of the re-opening of Malta’s airport between 2,500 to 3,000 tourists are expected to visit the island. This is coupled with the investment being made in the local tourism product, which will further incentivise larger numbers to choose Malta as their next travelling destination.


Spain to decide this week which non-European tourists can visit

Spain will decide this week which visitors from outside Europe can enter as it welcomes back travellers from neighbouring nations in an effort to revive a tourism industry hammered by the coronavirus lockdown, a minister said.

Borders between European Union (EU) nations have reopened and most restrictions been lifted, prompting thousands of French to cross into Spain on Sunday seeking cheap tobacco and alcohol.

Spain is the world’s second most-visited nation, with roughly one in five of its normally 80 million annual visitors coming from Britain. Some 400,000 Britons own a home there.

Health Minister Salvador Illa told Cadena SER radio station that Madrid would discuss with European Union (EU) partners whether to also let in travellers from outside the continent.

Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya confirmed to COPE radio that a two-week self- quarantine for visitors had been lifted, but non-Europeans were still not allowed in except for Spanish passport-holders, health workers or people in transit.

Italy mulls new WHO guidelines on virus patient isolation 

Italy’s Health Ministry is asking government advisers to evaluate new World Health Organization recommendations saying that people with COVID-19 can come out of isolation before they test negative for the coronavirus.

The WHO last week said  patients  who spent 10  consecutive days in isolation  with symptoms can be released if they are then symptom-free for at least three days. People who don’t develop COVID-19 symptoms can stop isolating 10 days after they first test positive, according to WHO’s revised guidelines.

Previously, WHO recommended ending the isolation of infected people only after they twice tested negative on samples taken 24 hours apart. The change is significant given that many countries are grappling with how to deal with thousands of people who are technically infected with the virus but may not still pose a transmission risk to others.

The U.N. health agency said it updated its recommendations because recovered COVID- 19 patients were still testing positive for the virus weeks later. Despite their results, “these patients are not likely to be infectious and therefore are unlikely to be able to transmit the virus to another person,” WHO said.

EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU

Europe’s recovery needs solidarity and smart spending

The centre-right EPP Group in the European Parliament is insisting that solidarity and responsibility go hand in hand by addressing both the economic recovery as well as by ensuring Europe and the world are recovering in an inclusive manner and in ways that our societies and our planet can sustain so that we can shape a better Union for the next generations.

In a statement, the Group has outlined its key priorities for the upcoming EU Budget.

Corporate Dispatch Pro 

The latest edition of Corporate Dispatch Pro has been published.

In this edition, the contributors tackle various elements of the post-Covid world, including the nexus between business, policy and society, the concept of reinventing business and brands with a societal legacy.

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.