27.06.20 Covid-19 Update



Update by Ministry of Health 

There were no new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the Health Department said on Facebook. With three people recovering during the same timeframe, the number of active cases has gone down to 26.

870 swab tests have been carried out. The number of total cases remains at 670.



 EU countries remain split on reopening borders

EU member states remained divided Friday over the partial reopening of  Europe’s border on July 1, though the United States, where the coronavirus is still spreading, was to remain excluded, diplomats said.

EU envoys have argued for days on drawing up a list of criteria for reopening borders, with some member states worried about the reliability of coronavirus data, notably from China.

Sources told AFP that the meeting ended with a tentative list of about 18 countries free to travel to Europe, with national governments given until 1600 GMT on Saturday to approve it.

Travellers from China would be approved to enter, but only subject to reciprocity from Beijing, the sources added, with no further details provided.

The toughest resistance to a shortlist came from Portugal and Greece, one diplomat said, both top tourism destinations that are hoping to salvage at least some of the summer holidays.


Buses can turn air conditioning back on as COVID-19 measure relaxed

Buses are now able to turn their air conditioning systems back on as authorities further relax COVID-19 restrictions

Much to the chagrin of public transport commuters, air conditioning systems on buses had been kept switched off in the past months as part of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

While this might not have been a major issue in the cooler months, the situation on board buses started to become unbearable as the weather warmed up.

Malta Public Transport said on Friday that buses would be able to turn their air conditioners back on with immediate effect following instructions from the authorities.


Judge turns down pilots’ request to halt redundancies 

A court of law has turned down a request by the Airline Pilots Association to stop Air Malta from dismissing 69 pilots.

The court, presided by Mr Justice Toni Abela, accepted the ALPA request for the airline not to demote pilots.

The ruling was given after the airline and the association did not come to an amicable agreement on the dismissal of the pilots.

In a post on Facebook, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said the court had upheld the airline’s arguments against an association which did not want to accept the need to cut down on the number of pilots in the wake of the crisis brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.


7% worked more hours during COVID-19 crisis – NSO

While for 31% of the Maltese workforce, COVID-19 resulted in a reduction in hours or absence from work, 7% experienced an increase in hours. These 7% averaged 48 hours per week during the month of April.

These statistics were published by the National Statistics Office (NSO). A labour force survey (LFS) was issued, which is a household-based survey used as a monitoring tool for assessing progress made in various spheres of the labour market and social statistics across the European Union.

Newspaper Review 

The Times reveals that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit will be given investigative powers to be able to launch probes into reports independently of the police. The results would then be presented directly to the state prosecutor to make charges in court.

The Independent quotes Finance Minister Edward Scicluna who said that Malta is doing its best to avoid being grey-listed by  the Financial Action Task Force and that the government is working ‘night and day’ to implement the necessary legislation.

L-Orizzont says that the police are still waiting for Moroccan authorities to extradite a Libyan national, three months after the original request. The man is a suspect in the murder of a 62-year-old man from Santa Luċija, discovered in March.

In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Adrian Delia who addressed a national conference on sport held by the party. Delia said that sport is a priority for the PN and that a nationalist government would appoint a minister responsible for sport.

The Independent reaches out to Labour Party president Daniel Micallef who is being touted as a contender for the role of party deputy leader.  Micallef would neither confirm nor deny his interest in the contest.

L-Orizzont reports that a new legal notice now guarantees 60 hours leave for persons undergoing an assisted procreation process. Minister Carmelo Abela announced the amendments to the Employment and Industrial Relations Act on Friday.

The Times reports on the arrival in Balluta bay of Neil Agius who swam 103 kilometres from Ragusa in Sicily in under 29 hours. The swimmer completed the feat to raise awareness about sea pollution.

In-Nazzjon says that a large crowd gathered in St Julian’s to welcome swimmer Neil Agius, who crossed successfully from the south of Sicily. The paper says that the initiative shows how sport contributes to raise awareness to social issues.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS (By corporatedispatch.com) Britain to announce safe countries for travel

Britain will ditch a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from countries it deems to be lower risk for COVID-19 , the government said on Friday.

Ministers are poised to clear the way for trips to France, Greece and Spain after confirming the quarantine measures would be changed at Monday’s review, according to Sky News.

Official travel advice against all but essential travel outside Britain will also be eased for some countries and regions.

US: Flu vaccine use in elderly may be linked to community coronavirus mortality COVID-19 death rates may be lower in communities where large proportions of elderly residents received flu vaccines, based on data from more than 2,000 counties around the United States. Researchers found that a 10% increase in vaccination coverage among people older than 65 was associated on average with a 28% decrease in the COVID-19 death rate in a given county

Covid-19 is behaving like Spanish Flu, WHO Senior official

A senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said Friday that the new coronavirus hotspots that have cropped up in Italy in recent days are to be expected. “There is no concern because it was amply expected,” Dr Ranieri Guerra, the WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Strategic Initiatives said.

Guerra also warned, however, that the coronavirus emergency is far from over. “COVID- 19 is behaving as we had hypothesized,” he said. The comparison is with the Spanish Flu, which behaved exactly like COVID.

EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU 

Average CO2 emissions from new cars and new vans increased again in 2019 

The EU Environmental Agency has published the provisional data for the average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the UK in 2019. The provisional 2019 data on new registrations can be explored through a new EEA data dashboard.

After a steady decline from 2010 to 2016, average emissions from new passenger cars increased in 2017 and in 2018 (by 2.8 g CO2/km in total). According to provisional data, the upward  trend continued with an additional  increase of 1.6 g CO2/km in 2019, reaching 122.4 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This remains below the target of 130 g CO2/km that applied until 2019 but well above the EU target of 95 g CO2/km that phases-in this year.

The reasons for the increase in car emissions include the growing share of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. The market penetration of electric cars remained slow in 2019.

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.