Analysis: How a party and a feast march took over the Covid-19 wave in Malta

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A graphic presentation of data of new covid cases in Malta by the Directorate for Health Information and Research clearly indicates the correlation in the recent spike of cases registered in Malta and the mass events.

The Weekend Takeover Party, organised by G7 events and Sound Salon at the Radisson SAS hotel was held on the 17th of July. At the time, the number of active cases was 3.

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On the 23rd of July, Malta registered the first case related to the party held at the Radisson.

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On the 26th of July, as Malta registered the highest daily increase in cases in weeks, Malta also registered the first case linked to the march organised during the St. Venera Feast.

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The data analysis by the Directorate for Health Information and Research indicates the number of cases and how the new spike followed and how was it was mainly fuelled by clusters linked to people who attended the party and the march.

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On the 28th of July, the number of new cases was also linked to the party and the feast clusters, bringing the number of active cases to 34.

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On the 30th of July, the number of new cases was 9, 4 of which were linked to the match in St Venera.

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On the same day, a significant increase to the overall active cases was registered, following the swabbing carried on the migrants rescued by the AFM.

On Sunday 2nd August, 15 new cases were registered. 6 of which were linked to both events.

Meanwhile on Friday, the Superintendent for Health published the new guidelines regarding events, while stressing that she is against the decision not to ban public events.

On the same day, four major mass parties which were meant to be organised in Malta, following the refusal to have them held elsewhere, were cancelled. The organisers said that this was due to the increase in the number of cases. The reality is that there was an uproar against the organisation of such events, which earned Malta and the revellers as part of a parallel universe. The Doctors’ and Nurses’ Unions threatened legal action following an Industrial dispute. The action was averted following talks between the Minister of Health and the Union’s representatives who agreed to suspend the action.

Statistician and Researcher Silvan Mifsud commented that on the 21st July we had 4 active cases. 11 days later, on the 1st August we had 171 active cases. “Let us put the 88 cases from immigrants to one side as those are contained. That however means 83 detected cases in the community. A rise of 79 community active cases in 11 days – an average of just over 7 new active cases per day. If the new daily active community cases from today onwards will be higher than 7 it means we are on an increasing average trend. Numbers do not lie.”

The directorate said that it uses a sensitive model to estimate reproduction number/factor (Rt), in order to be able to take prompt action at an early stage in an outbreak/wave. The directorate, which provides the data to the authorities expressed their hope that the country is still in time to control the spike and prevent a new outbreak.

 

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