The Ministry for Health has confirmed that during the last 24 hours there have been 49 new cases of Coronavirus while five persons have recovered. With this increase the number of active cases is now 311 while 1,717 swab tests were carried out in recent hours. Among the new cases is that of an 84-year-old man who was resident in a home for the elderly and is not in a good state of health and suffers from other medical conditions. A child attending SkolaSajf has also been infected with Professor Gauci announcing an assurance that contacts are being made with parents and teachers to inform them of the case. Asked about further details about the new cases, Professor Gauci said that none of these were part of a group of infected persons already identified and known. She explained this is the second highest number of recorded new cases, with the highest, 54, being registered in April.
During a media conference, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci explained that the new cases included a number which were asymptomatic, others with light symptoms, and others which had to be admitted to hospital. Professor Gauci added that there are presently four cases in IDU at Mater Dei, including an 84-year-old elderly person who is not in a good state of health, even as he is suffering from other conditions. There are also four other persons at St Thomas Hospital and seven others at Boffa Hospital.
Professor Gauci further stated that in the present situation, as people are still going out, there is a greater possibility of people mixing together. Because of this situation, there are a number of clusters which have increased the cases of Covid-19, among them the hotel party with a cluster of 20, and the other one linked to the St Venera feast, with a cluster of 33. Another cluster, also of 33, related to bars in Paceville.
Professor Gauci explained that there are other cases linked to students who come to Malta to study languages and some cases among children attending Skolasajf. The Superintendent further explained that there are sporadic cases where one cannot identify the source of the infection, and reiterated the need for control within the community. The Superintendent added that the greater part of Covid-19 cases is from the younger age group.
Professor Gauci referred to the importance of tests, and reminded that an additional two swabbing centres are to be opened in the community to cope with the demand for tests. The Superintendent explained that these have to be linked to the laboratories and for this reason, the number of scientists in the laboratories has been increased to enable a faster turnaround of results. Referring also to helpline 111, Professor Gauci added that this service has been boosted.
In order to safeguard the vulnerable, Professor Gauci explained that visits to old people’s homes will be carried out behind perspex barriers. The Superintendent added that no mass events are being held. Regarding small events, Professor Gauci referred to new rules, including that of one person for every four sq.m., a maximum of ten persons together, and for an assessment to be carried out for events catering for over 100 persons. The Superintendent added that irrespective of the size of the place, only 100 persons can be allowed inside, and 300 outdoors. There can not be a dance floor. The Superintendent stressed on the importance of details of attendees for events being recorded.
Professor Gauci added that there will be more enforcement, and appealed to the public to cooperate. The Superintendent also referred to the wearing of masks, adding that a legal notice effective from today makes the wearing of masks obligatory. Professor Gauci reminded that the wearing of masks protects oneself. Those not wearing a mask will be fined 50 euro. Another reminder was for anyone experiencing symptoms to remain at home and call on helpline 111.
Professor Gauci concluded that we still have to feel the repercussions of past mass events, adding that this was in light of the time it may take for the virus to infect the patient.