Update by Ministry of Health
There were no new cases of coronavirus for the third day running. A total of 923 swab tests were carried out, taking the country’s tally to beyond 90,000.
With six people recovering, the number of active cases has gone down to 32. 11 of these are still receiving care in hospitals.
#MALTA-24: LOCAL NEWS
Business still slow, essential goods stores seeing less customer spending – Chamber of SMEs CEO
While some sectors are moving back towards normality, in general business is still slow, the CEO of the Malta Chamber of SMEs Abigail Mamo told The Malta Independent. She also indicated that some businesses not originally hit by Covid-19 are now seeing a slowdown
While the government had allowed businesses to reopen after easing restrictive measures that came about due to Covid-19, in general businesses are still struggling, but the severity of the situation depends on the sector and even on the location, she said. Mamo explained that the Chamber has received mixed feedback from the different sectors, but did say that there is a level of positive movement.
Non-essential shops however, such as clothes stores, are still in a bad way she said. “The retail sector still has a long way to go. Tourism dependent businesses are struggling obviously. Hotels and restaurants are moving into the domestic market as people will holiday in the country more than abroad.”
She also indicated new emerging situations that are of concern for other businesses that were not badly impacted by the virus.
Unemployment doubles to 4,409 in May
Registered unemployment in May more than doubled over the same month in 2019, although it was still relatively low.
Official figures issued on Wednesday showed that the number of persons registering for work stood at 4,409, up by 2,740 when compared to May 2019. Unemployment in April had been 3,979 (from 1,748 in April 2019).
Unemployment increased across all age groups as many companies were shut because of COVID-19.
The largest increase was recorded among persons who had been registering for less than 21 weeks. On the other hand, those who had been registering for work for more than one year, decreased when compared to the same month in 2019.
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.
The Times of Malta expresses its disappointment at the way a culture of entitlement has permeated Maltese society, not only with reference to recent high-profile scandals but also at lower levels. It refers to a recent story where a number of workers on a JobsPlus scheme in Gozo were found to have been skiving. But they still get paid thanks to the ineffective management of the scheme by District Operations, a GWU foundation that is paid €1 million a year by the government to manage it. The Editor calls for a radical overhaul of this project.
Maltatoday welcomes Robert Abela’s decision to bite the bullet and get the Labour Party to vote out former Minister Konrad Mizzi. The Editor argues that Abela could have considered not taking such a decision given the healthy lead in the polls, and not to alienate Labour’s supporters. However, such move would have been short-sighted. Unless Abela draws a clear line in the sand, the perception that he is trying to protect a criminal legacy will only return to haunt him every time a serious accusation of impropriety surfaces.
The Independent also looks at the significant majority in the polls for the Labour Party. The Editor analyses such situation, attributing it to Malta’s economic success which tends to make people look to the other side when other issues crop up. Malta’s healthy financial situation and the consequent support measures provided in the wake of the pandemic also contributed positively. However, the Opposition’s woes have also contributed to increasing such gap.
L-Orizzont discusses recent reforms related to the administration of justice and the improvement of governance in Malta. The Editor looks at the key measures implemented by Government, a number of which build on recommendations of the Venice Commission.
In-Nazzjon focuses today’s Editorial on the Police Force, arguing that Labour’s infiltration and use of the force for its own needs has created two big problems: the force itself is motivated and the general public has lost trust in it.
German minister stresses coronavirus risk despite low infection numbers
German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Wednesday stressed that the coronavirus remains a risk after the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Tuesday put two municipalities back into lockdown following an outbreak at a meatpacking plant.
Guetersloh and the neighbouring town of Warendorf became the first areas in Germany to fall back under lockdown measures that had been gradually lifted since the end of April.
“We’re seeing that if we make it too easy for this virus, it spreads very, very quickly again – we’re not only seeing that in Guetersloh – we’ve also seen it in Goettingen, in Leer, in Bremen and at churches and family celebrations,” Spahn told German broadcaster ARD.
“That’s why it’s important to keep making clear that although the numbers were low over many weeks, this virus is still there,” Spahn said.
EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU
Britain, EU to miss deadline for future financial market access
Britain and the European Union are set to miss their end-June deadline for assessing future cross-border trade in financial services, leaving just six months before a potentially messy UK exit, financial industry and EU officials say.
Britain left the EU in January and complies with the bloc’s rules until the end of December in return for continued full access for financial firms.
Future direct EU access will depend on whether Brussels deems UK regulation to be “equivalent” to standards in the bloc. The EU and Britain agreed last year they would make “best endeavours” to complete the assessments by June 30.
“It’s a long, slow process and no one is rushing to finish them by the ‘official’ target date,” a senior official at an international bank said.
Britain has repeatedly said the assessments should be a formality, given that it has put all EU rules into UK law.
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What is so good with the ‘new normal’?
Prof. Andrew Azzopardi, Dean, Faculty for Social Wellbeing at the University of Malta argues that Covid-19 is an excellent opportunity to think about all those we’ve decided to plonk in the socially induced Bermuda Triangle and maybe undo this physical and social distancing we forced on them.
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.