Updated 1223 – Resignations a sign of a culture change
PM Robert Abela said that the recent resignations from the Cabinet and the Labour parliamentary group hurt, even on a personal level, but they were a reflection of the culture of change which the current administration had introduced. In a radio interview, Abela said that the MPs involved had responsibly recognised that they may have committed wrongdoings and resigned. “Since January 2020 we have brought in higher standards, a culture of change, something which the opposition never practiced,” he said.
First two Omicron cases in Malta confirmed – Fearne
Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that the first two Omicron variant cases of coronavirus were found in Malta, adding that testing takes a number of days. Fearne insisted that hospitalisations remained low, at 53, with just three persons in ITU. “Experience teaches us to remain cautious, as when cases increase in the community, around 2-3 weeks later they are reflected in admissions to hospital”.
Fearne insisted that there is confirmation that the vaccine and its booster are effective against the Omicron variant.
The vaccine certificate showing a booster jab has been taken will be required to access sporting events, cinemas, bars and restaurants.
As from Monday, all events can be held, but in seated format.The only exceptions will be for funerals and weddings.
All establishments are to close at 1am.
Sporting events have been closed to spectators until 17 Jan.
Schools will re-open normally after the holidays.
Prof Charmaine Gauci said the seven-day moving average is 392, suggesting that Omicron is to blame for the latest increase. She noted that yesterday over 7,000 swab test were undertaken.
733 new cases were reported on Thursday.
Education Minister resigns, then takes legal action
A few hours after resigning from the post of Education Minister, Justyne Caruana on Wednesday filed legal action challenging the constitutional validity of the law which led to her being investigated by the Standards Commissioner. She filed the action within hours of resigning as Education Minister.
Caruana’s lawyers filed constitutional proceedings arguing the Gozitan MP did not get a fair hearing, adding that she was also “seriously preoccupied” by the way the whole process was applied in her regard. The issue follows a report published by the Standards Commissioner a contract of employment granted by the former minister in favour of her friend and former Malta footballer Daniel Bogdanovic.
She also announced that she would not be contesting the next general election. [Times of Malta]
Health always a priority – PM
“Health was the priority, and it remained the priority,” PM Robert Abela said on Wednesday evening, refusing claims that a two weights two measures approach was undertaken since the onset of the pandemic. Speaking on the national broadcaster, Abela said that key Covid-19 measures were always taken in collaboration with the health authorities, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Wednesday. “The science is crystal clear: till this day we have a stable situation that is under control, especially where the hospital is concerned”, Abela insisted in a pre-recorded interview. [Maltatoday]
Government protects the corrupt, not people – PN’s Bernard Grech
“The government is giving off the impression that it is business as usual,” Bernard Grech said, condemning the fact that Government was allowing mass events to continue despite the spite increase in cases. “Instead of protecting the people, the Prime Minister protects the corrupt individuals within the government who are still allowed to enter Parliament,” he said, naming Konrad Mizzi as an example.
By refusing to confront the problem, there is continuity in the corruption, resulting in damage to the government, and consequently damage to the country, Grech said. [The Malta Independent]
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.