Covid19 Bulletin Malta – Sunday 22nd March 2020

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Update 2310

This is the list of shops/services that should remain closed 𝐚𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐨𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐰 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝟐𝟑𝐫𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎 𝐚𝐭 𝟖𝐚𝐦, the closure of all shops whereby their principal business relates to the selling of non-essential goods:

– Clothing

– Sportswear

– Jewellery

– Hand bags and leather goods

– Costume jewellery and accessories

– Footwear

– Non-prescription eyewear

– Perfumeries

– Beauty products

– Haberdasheries

– Soft furnishings

– Household appliances

– Souvenir shops

– Discount stores

– Luggage shops

– Toy shops

– Hobby shops

– Furniture

– Florists and vaping shops, shall be observed.

Outlets providing non-essential services will also have to shut. These include:

– Hairdressers

– Barbers

– Beauticians

– Spas

– Nail artists

– Nail technicians

– Tattooists

This decision applies to the above mentioned shops whether operating in shopping malls and/or elsewhere.

These shops may still sell and provide delivery services of their products in the community.

As announced earlier today, Government is also requesting with effect from the said date and time the closure of outlets providing non-essential services, namely hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, spas, nail artists, nail technicians and tattooists.

Fines of €3000 will be imposed each time these new measures are breached.

Source:Government of Malta

Update 1419

Prof Gauci is giving details of the 17 new cases, resulting from 276 swabs which were taken yesterday. A number of these cases related to contact tracing.

Ten of the new cases related directly with travel. These include 7 Maltese citizens with the other cases concerning Swedish, Hungarian, Finnish nationals.

In the other seven cases, local transmission is suspected, including a 74 year old man. These include three Maltese persons, a Somali and an Indian. The seventh person’s nationality was not identified.

Update 1402

Seventeen new cases in last 24 hours – no patient died.

Deputy PM Chris Fearne announced that 17 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours. He denied again that any patient lost his life in the past hours. There are now 90 cases, 27 patients in Mater Dei and St Thomas Hospital – the rest recovering at home.

Chris Fearne said that at this point we have reached the fourth phase of the epidemic where a small number of community transmission is being reported.

Fearne announced a new set of measures intended to reduce the flow of cases. He explained that a number of measures have already been implemented including the closure of schools, bars and restaurants, gyms and so forth. This was done as close contact with positive individuals could infect other people. The new measures are intended to address community spreading. These measures include:

a) closure of non-essential retail outlets, such as shops which sell electronics, toys, clothes etc. This will not affect shops selling food, including bakeries, groceries, fishmongers and the like. These measures come into effect from tomorrow, Monday, at 8am. Pet shops will be allowed to operate.

b) closure of non-essential services, such as hairdressers, beauticians and similar services. This will not inpact banks, transport-related businesses, and health-related outlets.

c) all public gatherings will be outlawed.

For these three new sets of measures, the 3,000 euro fine will apply.

Fearne explained that these measures reflect the current situation and require the general public’s full cooperation.

Update 1347 – Political leaders deliver Sunday message

Stay inside, or else it will be worse – PM Abela

The leaders of Malta’s two main political parties inevitably focused on developments related to Covid-19 this morning. PM Abela expressed his satisfaction that by and large the public was observing appeals for social distancing, but stressed that failure to do so will lead to worse hardships in the coming days and weeks. The Labour Leader called on the public not to gather in public gardens and beaches.

We cannot use all Malta’s war chest at one go – Abela

Speaking about the economy, Robert Abela indicated that further support towards business might be in the offing, as the Government continuously re-adjusted its measures in a very volatile situation. Abela argued that no one really knows how long this situation will linger, and referring to calls for additional immediate support, he insisted that it would be imprudent to use the country’s war chest at one go.

Opposition calls for reduction in tariffs

PN Leader Adrian Delia insisted that Government should be covering half of employees salaries, while reducing water and electricity tariffs for everyone. He called on PM Robert Abela to take drastic action before it was too late.

Delia said that so far Government would be covering a mere 20% of salaries – such a move will not safeguard workers.

In his address Delia also appealed to Government to stop collecting rent from businesses and factories and to consider extending the loan repayment moratorium to six months.

Update 1320h Press Briefing at 1400h

New measures are expected to be introduced as the government steps up efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, MaltaToday reports.

The measures will be announced by Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne at a press conference that will be held at 2pm.


Update 0930h: Media Coverage:

The Sunday Times publishes survey results showing that nine in ten people believe the virus outbreak will cause significant damage to Malta. Three-fourths of respondents said that the situation will adversely impact them financially.

chris fearne

The Independent on Sunday says that 12,500 planning applications for dwellings were approved in 2019, around 400 less than the previous year. Apartments accounted for 85 percent of approved dwelling applications last year.

It-Torċa quotes Justice and Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis who said that workers must not be used by employers to negotiate on their terms. The minister said that businesses should be able to cope while the crisis is in its ‘first days’ after six years of economic growth.

Il-Mument quotes PN Leader Adrian Delia who urged government to allocate ‘serious and direct’ aid to safeguard the income of workers and their families. Delia said that the party will continue to make proposals to support businesses.

Kullħadd says that the financial package announced by the government on Wednesday ‘exceeds the expectations’ of the European Council. The paper says that the €1.8 billion budget goes further than the minimum recommended by EU ministers.

Illum speaks to trade unions and employers’ associations who said that, unless improved measures are introduced by government, businesses will fail, and jobs will be lost. They say that the tourism, catering and entertainment sectors are most at risk.

Malta Today argues that the Prime Minister must go all in to save the economy even if it means accumulating government debt. The paper says that the rescue package for business announced this week will not work.

The Independent on Sunday says that the country is going through its biggest crisis since World War II and insists that the highest priority is to save jobs. It praises the team led by Prof. Charmaine Gauci but says government initially showed signs of procrastination.

The Sunday Times carries an interview with Health Minister Chris Fearne who warned that the impact of coronavirus will last long. He said that businesses, interactions and entire systems will have to adjust to a ‘new normal’.

Il-Mument says that Economy Minister Silvio Schembri has ‘exposed the government’s hands’ about its plans to deport third-country nationals who lost their jobs in the wake of the Covid-19 emergency.

Kullħadd reports that over 800 citizens and residents returned to Malta in time before the closure of the airport on Saturday. However, it says that the Foreign Affairs Ministry has several other pending requests for return


The Morning Bulletin :

Cases in Malta kept edging up on the first day of Spring yesterday. Malta now has registered 73 patients affected with coronavirus, Prof. Charmaine Gauci announced yesterday. One of the patients is in an unstable condition and has been transferred to ITU. However, according to The Times of Malta, the Authorities have denied rumours that the patients passed away on Saturday night.

Prof Gauci also  indicated that one of the patients worked at Balzan Pharmacy and persons who visited the pharmacy on 16th and 17th March should self-isolate. #

The BOV branch in Ibragg will re-open after an employee who had displayed symptoms tested negative. However, the bank has announced that it has limited withdrawals from inside the bank to 500 euro to restrict visits to the bank. Withdrawals from ATMs placed outside will be unaffected.



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