Current Affairs
21 new COVID-19 cases in Malta

The number of active cases of Covid-19 has continued to increase. In the latest medical bulletin for the past 24 hours, covering up to 12 noon on Saturday, the health authorities stated that 1,748 swab tests were carried out, resulting in 21 positive cases. The majority of the cases are linked to cases reported in recent days, whilst two cases are imported. Three cases relate to migrants already in quarantine. It was stated that in the majority of the new cases, the persons involved are under 35 years of age. One case is that of an elderly 80-year-old woman. And there have not been any recoveries from the virus in the past 24 hours.

In light of these numbers, the Church in Malta has decided that no more pilgrimages will be held this year. The Bishops declared in a statement that they had reached this conclusion after following indications given by the health authorities to the public.

These developments occurred the day after Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci reiterated she is not in favour of the holding of mass activities. The Medical Association is of the same opinion and appealed for the cancellation of mass activities from Monday, stating that unless this step is taken, the country risks being put on the tourism blacklist of the rest of the European countries, with consequences on the country’s economic recovery.

The MAM expressed its disappointment that the Tourism Ministry with the support of the Prime Minister’s Office had chosen, it added, to ignore the advice of the Superintendence about mass activities, which they say are of very high risk. The Association expressed the opinion that the wearing of masks indoors should be enforced through fines, which it said is being done in other countries.

The MAM added it is awaiting the Government’s reaction before deciding whether to suspend its directives to the health sector, planned for Monday.

The Hotels and Restaurants Association, on the other hand, stated that the balance between the measures against the spreading of the virus and the opening up of the economy ensure the best results in the fight against the pandemic. The MHRA added that as a result of Government’s measures, including the re-opening of the airport and distribution of vouchers to the people, the economy has slowly started to recover, and thousands of jobs have been saved, including in the tourism sector.

The Association, however, warned against positions which it called extremist, saying these guaranteed results which it described as disastrous for the country. The MHRA further stated that the virus is still around, and the country needs to continue applying protocols so that, whilst safeguarding public health, life will go on.