Update by Ministry of Health
Malta registered no new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the Department of Health said. As one person recovered during the same time frame, the number of cases has gone down to 10.
The Department also said that of these ten patients, only three are recovering in Malta’s hospitals, two at St Thomas and one at Boffa.
#MALTA-24: LOCAL NEWS
Households to start receiving coronavirus aid vouchers Wednesday
Vouchers set to boost spending in local businesses will start arriving by post in Maltese households as from Wednesday.
The vouchers, which amount to €100, are split into five of €20 in value each. They will arrive by registered mail via MaltaPost and have to be signed for by a member of the household, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said in a press conference at the Economy Ministry in Valletta on Wednesday.
Announced in June as part of the government’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan, the scheme will see every Maltese citizen who turned 16 on June 8, as well as every person who holds Maltese residence and work permits, receiving vouchers to be spent at local businesses.
Some 440,000 residents in Malta and Gozo are eligible for the vouchers while over 2,000 local businesses have signed up to receive the vouchers as payment in their establishments.
Covid-19: University promises new options for graduation ceremonies
After the University of Malta listened to the complaints of students and their relatives following the news that graduation ceremonies would be postponed, it said that it would try to find a solution for them to be held when they should be.
Yesterday the University announced that the graduations which were meant to be held in November and December will be postponed to next year because of the uncertainties related to COVID-19. The University Rector, Prof Alfred Vella said that the Senate had decided that the thanksgiving Mass and the ceremonies will be held in February and March according to the public health situation.
This decision led to a heated debate between students who have just finished their course successfully and were looking forward to graduating. They noted that despite the fact that their graduation was being postponed, the preparations for the new academic year had continued.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the University said that it would be trying to find a solution for the ceremonies to be held between November and December 2020 so that students can celebrate their achievements this year.
Employer bodies not consulted on MCESD Chairman
Employer organisations within the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development said on Wednesday it was discouraging that the government had failed to consult council members on the latest appointment of a new chairman.
Former trade unionist James Pearsall was appointed by the government to chair the council some days ago
The Malta Chamber, the Malta Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, the Malta Employers Association and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association said in a joint statement that irrespective of the person chosen for the post, they felt duty-bound to comment on the procedure adopted.
Malta Today leads with a report by the National Audit Office which concludes that a multi-million deal to transfer three public hospitals to Vitals was ‘predetermined’. The NAO said that an agreement was signed with VGH before the request for proposals was published.
The Independent says that the Opposition and unions are renewing calls for the termination of the state hospitals concession following a damning report by the National Auditor’s Office flagging ‘collusion’ between the government and original bidder Vitals.
The Times reports on the findings of a report by the National Audit Office which says that failure in good governance in the deal with Vitals Global Healthcare ‘rests squarely’ on former Health Minister Konrad Mizzi.
In-Nazzjon leads with comments by PN Leader Adrian Delia after losing a vote of confidence in the parliamentary group. Delia said he will stick by the choice of party paid members who elected him to lead for the remainder of the legislature.
L-Orizzont says that the votes of confidence against Adrian Delia by the PN parliamentary group may lead to an unprecedented situation where the party has one leader and the opposition, another.
The Times quotes PN Leader Adrian Delia who delivered a TV address before crunch talks with the party’s parliamentary group. He said that he had filed a police report on Monday over information being illegally leaked to the media to damage him.
Malta Today reaches out to former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi who denied claims that PN Leader Adrian Delia tried to rope him in to mediate with the parliamentary group. He did not say whether he met Delia but said that he was not present for the meeting with MPs.
L-Orizzont says that more than 20,000 inbound tourists visited Malta in the first week since the reopening of ports. There were 220 flights and 11 trips by catamaran, with the largest number of tourists and traveller reaching our shores from from Germany and Italy.
In-Nazzjon reports that Adrian Delia will call a meeting of the PN’s Executive Committee following a motion by MPs questioning trust in him as Leader of the Opposition. He said Executive Committee members will discuss the same issue.
The Independent quotes a European Commission report which says that Malta’s economy had started to slow down before the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, predicting a 6 percent decline in GDP this year. The decrease is, however, the smallest in the euro area.
L-Orizzont quotes the EU Commission Economic Forecast report for Malta which expects the economy to shrink by 6 percent this year before increasing by 6.2 percent in 2021. The paper says that Malta’s economic fallout from Covid-19 is among the least in the EU.
The Times looks at reforms launched recently to the golden passports scheme, noting how Malta’s Individual Investment Programme (IIP) has produced €1.4 billion in the country’s coffers in the last six years. While acknowledging the financial gain for the country, the Editor notes that these funds have come at a steep cost in the form loss of reputation for the country, which has reached a critical point. It remains to be seen whether the European Commission and MoneyVal will consider the new scheme as sufficiently robust to mitigate the risk of money laundering by rogue applicants. Should the new scheme prove to be just a PR rebranding of the old IIP scheme, Malta’s reputation will continue to suffer.
The Independent discusses the possibility of a third party in Malta, insisting that the basis for this to succeed is a coherent ideology. The election of Timothy Alden as leader of the Partit Demokratiku renews the argument for a merger with Alternattiva, but it is unclear what this new party will stand for. Both the PD and AD had strong pro- environment and anti-corruption stance, however there wasn’t necessarily that convergence on other issues.
L-Orizzont tackles a perennial debate, that of construction and development, insisting for a balance between the interests of development and residents. The Editor expresses concern at environmental destruction as well as noise pollution, describing enforcement on the latter as one of the weak points of the system.
In-Nazzjon dedicates its editorial to the importance of print as a key source of information. Describing newspapers as a natural heritage, the Editor focuses on the key role played by print during the Covid-19 crisis.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS (By corporatedispatch.com)
WHO acknowledges airborne spread of Covid-19
The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people.
“We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19,” Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO, told a news briefing.
The WHO has previously said the virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sink to the ground.
Scientists warn of potential coronavirus-related brain damage
Scientists warned on Wednesday of a potential wave of coronavirus-related brain damage as new evidence suggested COVID-19 can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.
A study by researchers at University College London (UCL)described 43 cases of patients with COVID-19 who suffered either temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage or other serious brain effects.
The research adds to recent studies which also found the disease can damage the brain. Read more here.
EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU
Italy PM Conte says won’t accept “weak compromise” on EU recovery fund
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday the European Union must provide a strong response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that support measures must be activated rapidly.
“We won’t accept a weak compromise,” on an EU Commission proposal to build up a recovery fund to finance the bloc’s coronavirus-battered economies, Conte told reporters in Lisbon speaking alongside Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
UK would leave the EU on Australia terms if no deal reached, Johnson tells Merkel
Britain is prepared to leave the European Union on the same terms as Australia has with the bloc if it cannot agree on a future trading deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Germany’s Angela Merkel in a telephone call on Tuesday.
“On the future relationship, the prime minister underlined the UK’s commitment to working hard to find an early agreement out of the intensified talks process,” a Downing Street spokeswoman said.
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.