23.06.20 Covid-19 Update



Update by Ministry of Health 

There were no new cases of coronavirus in Malta over the past 24 hours, the Health Department said. 927 swab tests were carried out during this period.

As one person has recovered, this means there are now 38 active cases.

This  was  the  first  time  since  7th  March  2020  during  which  Malta  registered  two consecutive days with zero cases.



Air Malta is struggling to find crew for repatriation flight to India

A repatriation flight to India has had to be cancelled twice because Air Malta is struggling to find crew willing to operate the flight while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, Times of Malta is informed.

A group of some 150 Indians who used to work and live in Malta said they have been stranded on the island for weeks after a flight taking them to the Indian city of Cochin keeps getting cancelled.

The government has insisted the flight has not been cancelled but merely “postponed”, though no new date has yet been set.

Times of Malta has now learnt the flight was cancelled twice as a result of Air Malta not being able to find crew willing to go on the arduous journey to India.


Church issues guidelines for First Holy Communion and Confirmation

The Archdiocese of Malta has published a list of guidelines for First Holy Communion and Confirmation. From Saturday 27 June, measures prepared by the Church Authorities in this regard will enter into force and remain as so until specified otherwise.

Similar to the current Church regulations, those taking Holy Communion for the first time should stay in their seat, to prevent more movement in the Church. The priest is to approach the candidates only and he does not have to wear a visor or mask.

With regard to Holy Confirmation, the priest will prepare a number of cotton wools with anointed oil, so that the priest does not have to touch the candidate on the forehead, but they will use to the cotton wool to make the sign of the cross instead. A cotton wool should be used for each person and after Mass the cotton wool should be burned and no candidates or other members of the congregation should take the cotton wool.


Maltese govt least dependent on foreign creditors within EU

he proportion of Maltese government debt held by overseas creditors is the lowest in the EU, with Eurostat figures showing that Maltese residents’ willingness to purchase government bonds play an important part.

Just 15.2% of Malta’s debt – which stood at 42.9% of the GDP at the end of 2019, though it has since increased due to the Covid-19 pandemic – is held by non-residents, followed by Sweden (19.3%) and Denmark (25.8%).

At the other end of the scale, 80.1% of Cypriot government debt is owed to foreign creditors, followed by Lithuania (75.6%) and Latvia (74.3%).

A key reason behind Malta’s low overseas debt is due to a substantial proportion of debt

– 25.6% – being held by its own residents, through government stocks and bonds. A higher rate is only observed in Hungary (27.7%), with Portugal a distant third at 14.7%.

Newspaper Review

The Times leads with the testimony of Keith Schembri in court who said that he was told by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to persuade Yorgen Fenech not to leave Malta, days before his eventual arrest in November.

The Independent follows the compilation in court against Yorgen Fenech on Monday when Keith Schembri took the witness stand. The former chief of staff was warned that criminal proceedings against him could not be excluded but chose to testify regardless.

L-Orizzont quotes Keith Schembri who claimed in court that PN Leader Adrian Delia asked businessman Yorgen Fenech for €50,000 to undermine the re-election campaign of MEP David Casa in 2019.

In-Nazzjon follows the testimony in court of inspector Kurt Zahra who said that claims by Melvin Theuma were corroborated while those made by Yorgen Fenech were not. The former’s request for pardon was recommended while the latter’s was refused.

The Independent reports that the parliamentary public appointments committee endorsed Angelo Gafà as the new Police Commissioner. His nomination was unanimously approved by the four members representing the government while the opposition boycotted the session.

The Times quotes nominated Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà who told parliament that the police found little cooperation from jurisdictions outside the EU, slowing down anti-money laundering probes.

In-Nazzjon quotes Opposition Leader Adrian Delia who accused the Prime Minister of siding with those who ‘robbed the country’ against the interests of the people. Delia was referring to the €10 million investment in a wind farm in Montenegro by Enemalta.


The Times of Malta calls for stronger protections of journalists who are threatened through very costly libel lawsuits in foreign countries, which the Editor describes as a threat to media freedom because they wear down or cripple media organisations in costly battles, often over procedural points such as the choice of jurisdiction.

The paper welcomes the PN-proposed amendment to national legislation to protect the media from vexatious libel lawsuits in countries beyond the EU, however, it calls for changes to EU law to counter SLAPP within the EU.

The Independent looks at the shape of the Nationalist Party, arguing that the next election is ‘already lost’ Financially speaking, the PN is in worse shape than the PL. This means that the party will need to come up with more creative ways of getting its message out to the public. This would require an injection of new ideas in terms of communications strategy, which is perhaps something the party should focus on. The Editor argues that the PN needs a new leader who can bring both sides together, but not just a compromise candidate for the sake of having one, a real leader who people can believe in.

In-Nazzjon continues to dig in on the recent revelations related to the political scandal surrounding the purchasing of a windfarm in Montenegro. It takes Labour to task for allowing criminals to manoeuvre it in the direction they wanted to and describes the Prime Minister as weak for not taking immediate, strong action against people found to be involved in such shady deals.

L-Orizzont takes a strong social stance in its Editorial today calling for more efforts in the country’s fight against inequality and discrimination. The Editor welcomes the creation of a new Board to investigate and provide remedies in cases of discrimination.


Coronavirus cases soar in big countries, especially Brazil, WHO says

Coronavirus cases are soaring in several major countries at the same time, with “worrying increases” in Latin America, especially Brazil, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday evening.

The world recorded more than 183,000 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the most in a single day since the outbreak started in December, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“Certainly the numbers are increasing because the epidemic is developing in a number of populous countries at the same time and across the whole world,” WHO’s top emergencies expert, Mike Ryan, told an online briefing.

“Some of that increase may be attributed to increased testing … And certainly countries like India are testing more. But we do not believe that this is a testing phenomenon.”

Ryan said there had been a jump in cases in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Bolivia and Guatemala, as well as Brazil, which had passed the 1 million mark – second only to the United States.

French pharma company Sanofi expects approval for Covid-19 vaccine by mid-2021

French pharma company Sanofi SA said on Tuesday it expects to get approval for the potential COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline Plc by the first half of next year, faster than previously anticipated.

Sanofi, which is hosting a virtual research and development event, and GSK had said in April the vaccine, if successful, would be available in the second half of 2021.

“We are being guided by our dialogue with regulatory authorities,” Sanofi research chief John Reed told reporters, when asked about the accelerated time frame.

EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU 

Fearing second COVID-19 wave, Europe aims to train ‘army’ of medics

Europeans are enjoying the gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures, but in hospitals they are already preparing for the next wave of infections.

Some intensive care specialists are trying to hire more permanent staff. Others want to create a reservist “army” of medical professionals ready to be deployed wherever needed to work in wards with seriously ill patients.

European countries have been giving medics crash courses in how to deal with COVID– 19 patients, and are now looking at ways to retrain staff to avoid shortages of key workers if there is a second wave of the novel coronavirus.

“We need a healthcare army,” said Maurizio Cecconi, president-elect of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM), which brings together medics from around the world who work in wards with extremely ill patients.

Cecconi, who heads the intensive care department at the Humanitas hospital in Milan, says medical staff need to be more flexible in the work they do, and more mobile.

“If there is another big wave, we should be prepared to deploy doctors and nurses from

nearby regions within Italy. This did not happen a lot in the first wave,” he told Reuters.

Many countries were caught unprepared by the COVID–19 pandemic in March and April, and hastily retrained medics to work with patients with severe cases of the disease, to ramp up numbers and replace those who fell sick.

Corporate Dispatch Pro

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.