Health Minister Chris Fearne denied a report in a local paper that there were cases of flu, known as N1H1, calling the report an invented news.
Minister Fearne told Parliament that in the past three months there were 110 cases of flu, but none of them was of the N1H1 type, as the newspaper alleged. He added that this is confirmed in writing by the Pathology Department Head at Mater Dei Hospital, with the present virus being of the type H3.
The Health Minister, who was replying to a parliamentary question by Labour MP, Anthony Agius Decelis, said that the Government purchased a new equipment with which the health authorities will know what type of flu patients are suffering from. Minister Fearne added that the flu virus changes from year to year and the N1H1 type which was prevalent in various countries years ago, is no longer of concern as the immunity of the community against the virus has increased.
He remarked that newspapers who publish invented news are doing a disservice to the patients because they cause unnecessary alarm and a disservice to journalism.
Replying to another question by Nationalist MP Chris Said, Minister Fearne said that the number of foreign students who showed interest to study at Barts medical school in Gozo increased from 1,000 to 1,500, according to information sent by the Barts Medical School Dean in England. He also said that more than 200 Maltese doctors wrote to Barts to teach at the Gozo medical school. The Minister added that there are no patients in the corridors of Mater Dei Hospital despite the big increase in the number of patients in the past days, with more than 100 elderly persons relocated from Mater Dei to Government’s and private elderly homes, and also to Karen Grech Hospital.