11.07.20 Covid-19 Update



Fitch Rating Re-Affirmed at A, stable

Timesofmalta.com reports that credit rating agency Fitch has maintained Malta’s rating at A, but forecasting a contraction of 6.9% this year, that’s 1% more than its April review. This discrepancy is attributed to declining exports.

Nevertheless, Fitch expects only a slow recovery in 2H20 and for international tourism arrivals and hotel occupancy to remain below 2019 levels in 2021 and 2022,” the ratings agency said.

Politics: PN issues dominate printed and online media 

The future of the Nationalist Party remained in the balance yesterday evening as President of the Republic Dr George Vella spent a significant part of his day yesterday meeting with Opposition Members of Parliament in the wake of a vote of no confidence in PN Leader Adrian Delia.

Elements of the Nationalist Party sought to express doubts on the constitutional right of the President of the Republic to appoint another Leader of the Opposition. However, constitutional experts refuted these claims – who were also repeated by PN leader Delia – insisting that the Constitution allowed for the splitting of the roles of a party and an Opposition leader.

Sections of the media had also reported that not all 19 PN MPs who expressed a vote of no confidence on Tuesday re-iterated this position with Dr Vella, but a statement by the group yesterday evening sought to re-assure a unified position by this bloc. This group had on Thursday, nominated former MEP and human rights lawyer Therese Comodini Cachia, as Opposition leader.

Updates from Court

The court yesterday heard yesterday, how Ian Abdilla, an ex-Assistant Commissioner, testified that the tax firm Nexia BT had an office at the Justice Ministry. Abdilla defended his position that there was no need to investigate and seize Nexia’s servers when the Panama Papers were revealed.

Vitals hospital deal 

A secretive memorandum of understanding for the transfer of public hospitals to investors that eventually won the concession is nowhere to be found, Robert Abela admitted. The Prime Minister said he had asked again for a copy of this MOU after the National Audit Office said nobody in government could provide this agreement in its investigation of the hospitals deal.

Coronavirus updates

There were no new coronavirus cases between Thursday and Friday, the Health Department said. With two more persons recovering, there are now just seven persons infected with Covid-19 in Malta.

The health authorities said that the average length of recovery of persons infected with coronavirus in Malta was 16 days.

Newspaper coverage 

In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Adrian Delia who said that he will continue to carry out his responsibilities as Opposition Leader as mandated by the party statute and the PN paid- up members.

The Times reports that President George Vella spoke with the majority of Opposition MPs asking them whether they had confidence in current leader Adrian Delia. Independent MP Godfrey Farrugia told the paper he backed Therese Comodini Cachia for Opposition Leader.

The Independent quotes sources within the Nationalist Party who said that the parliamentary group sought to reconcile differences but MPs on the two sides of the argument were too stubborn to find an agreement.

L-Orizzont says that PN supporters are opposed over whether Adrian Delia should step down after losing the confidence of his parliamentary group, or whether the MPs who voted against him should themselves leave the party.

The Independent says that Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed reports that he met with Opposition Leader Adrian Delia last week but denied suggestions that they discussed allegations surrounding Yorgen Fenech.

The Times says that three experts on constitutional law rejected arguments by Adrian Delia that the roles of the party leader in opposition and that of the Opposition Leader must automatically be occupied by the same person.

In-Nazzjon says that the 19 members of the PN parliamentary group who withdrew their support of Adrian Delia in a vote of confidence this week have rallied behind Therese Comodini Cachia as a new Opposition Leader.

L-Orizzont quotes Agriculture Minister Anton Refalo who announced a reform of the Pitkalija vegetable market. He said that the government is looking to introduce new technology to increase efficiency and reduce waste.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS (By corporatedispatch.com) Significant increase in infections registered in Italy

There have been 276 new coronavirus infections in Italy in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said Friday, compared to 229 new cases on Thursday. Almost half of Friday’s new cases, 135 (48.9%), came in Lombardy, the hardest-hit region, while there were 53 in Emilia-Romagna and 23 in Lazio.

Over 12.5 million Covid-19 cases reported globally

More  than  12.54  million  people  have  been  reported  to  be  infected  by  the  novel coronavirus globally and 559,058 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

EU Corner – by Comuniq.EU

European Council head suggests tweaked EU Covid-19 recovery package

European Council President Charles Michel on Friday sought to offer concessions to countries across the EU in plans for the EU’s long-term budget and economic recovery, hoping to bridge differences between national leaders when they meet next week.

No EU money for countries breaching rule of law – EPP

The European Parliament is debating a draft law which would cut EU funding for countries which threaten the EU’s financial interests by violating the rule of law. Funding would be linked, amongst others, to the independence of national courts, the fight against corruption or the fairness of public procurement procedures.

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.