Covid-19: Record 582 cases as Nurses say all beds at MDH are full / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 22 December 2021

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Update 1444

Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi have both been slapped with a travel ban by the US due to their “involvement in significant corruption”. The sanctions against the two controversial politicians were announced by the US State Department on Wednesday.   “Today, the U.S. Department of State announces the public designation of former Maltese public officials Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri due to their involvement in significant corruption,” said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Wednesday.

Times of Malta

Update 1430

Education Minister Resigns

Education minister Justyne Caruana has tendered her resignation as education minister, on the back of an ethics breach in which she gifted a €15,000 contract to her partner Daniel Bogdanovic.

Her resignation was announced through a government statement. Minutes later, she confirmed her resignation personally on Facebook, and said that she will not contest the next general election.

“I got into politics because I wanted to serve. I was never in politics for power, and so I felt that this was the best decision to take at the moment for the government and the Labour Party,” she wrote.

MaltaToday

Updated 1248

Covid-19 Update
A record number of 582 cases were reported on Wednesday, while 94 recovered. The number of hospitalised persons has risen to 47, four in ITU. Moreover, two men in their fifties also passed away.

Nurses Union calls for social restrictions says all beds at MDH are full

The Nurses Union said that the situation at Mater Dei Hospital was very serious, claiming all beds are full. In this situation, it called for effective measures for the country to fight the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, including the postponement of non-urgent surgeries and closure of bars. In a statement, the union argued that the current measure requiring the wearing of face masks “is just a political measure with no scientific significance” for reducing COVID numbers. “Allowing the country to run with no effective COVID measures demonstrates that the government is more inclined to appease the entertainment industry than the health professionals such as the nurses who are working under huge pressures,” it said, adding that a number of nurses were in quarantine putting further pressure on staff.

Morning Briefing

Covid-19: Authorities insist on need for quarantine once positive test result received

Public Health Authorities said in a statement that anyone who receives a positive PCR or Rapid Test result for COVID-19 should isolate themselves immediately from the moment the result is received. Those who test positive must start a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days, which also applies to anyone living in the same residence, the authorities added. In order to prevent further spread, persons who test positive should prepare a list of contacts who were close to them in the two days before the positive test or since they developed symptoms, whichever came first, the statement added.

Court hears intricate details of money-laundering system

Prosecutors testified before magistrate Gabriella Vella sharing details of how four Libyan men accused of tax evasion and laundering over €20 million had been coming and going from Malta with large amounts of cash linked with the purchases of luxury cars, expensive jewellery and designer clothes, mostly from Turkey. The men were moving the money using the hawala money transfer system, which is an informal method of transferring money without any physical money actually moving, used in the Arab world. Maltatoday reports that the accused, Hesham Zayed, Essam Mohamed Edernawi and their companies P.H.F. Ltd, U.G.T. Company Ltd, Express Route Company Ltd, HZ Medical Equipment and Health Services Company Ltd and H&H Investments Ltd had been arrested in a police operation involving the Anti Money Laundering Squad, which had confiscated two luxury cars worth around €100,000 each, as well as cash. Also charged in connection with the operation were Khaled Baely and Hdidan Tamer Ramadan Ali.

Worker dies in tragic incident in Ghaxaq

A foreign worker, whose identity is still not known, died on Tuesday after he was involved in a fatal accident at work in the limits of Ħal Għaxaq, in the area known as Has-Saptan. It has been reported that the victim died while he was doing blasting work in one of the tanks at the fuel plant in Ħas-Saptan. Initial police investigations indicate that the worker died after he was trapped between a cherry picker cabin and the ceiling he was working on. (TVM.com.mt)

Covid-19 Update: A staggering 386 new COVID-19 infections were reported on Tuesday, the second-highest ever daily total and the first time more than 300 cases were notified in one day since March. There are currently 40 patients in hospital, with five requiring intensive treatment. Active cases have now exceeded 2,500.

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