Too early to reduce quarantine – health professionals/ Malta News Briefing – Monday 24 January 2022

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1745- Latest News update

Times of Malta says that five men are set to be charged on Monday evening with abducting a man and driving off with him in a van.

MaltaToday says that Nationalist leader Bernard Grech says Prime Minister should exercise political maturity.

Newsbook says that the annual inflation rate in Malta in December 2021 stood at 2.6%, up from 0.2% a year earlier, data published by Eurostat shows.

TVM says that a 36-year-old woman of foreign nationality pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic violence against her husband after she reported he had raped her.

Updated 1245

Too early to reduce quarantine – health professionals: Malta’s health professionals have expressed themselves against a reduction in quarantine, backing current time-frames. Martin Balzan, President of the Medical Association of Malta (MAM) argued that with new virus variants still being discovered, it was better to “err on the side of caution. “We are talking about a few days, so it’s better to be safe. Data is lacking because of the ever-changing situation with variants and Omicron is still very contagious,” he added. The nurses union reflected such sentiments, with MUMN President Paul Pace adding that most countries had only recently updated their rules and so it was too early to say how they will impact the community. [Times of Malta]

Junior College teachers to strike on collective agreement: Teachers at Junior College went on strike this morning after failed negotiations on a new collective agreement. The MUT ordered a two-hour strike on Monday and a full-day strike tomorrow. It is expected that some 160 lecturers working at the Sixth Form will forego lessons over the coming hours. Marco Bonnici, MUT President, said that the Union had “held discussions with the new minister Clifton Grima, but the stubbornness coming from some people meant no progress was made”. [Maltatoday]

Covid-19 Update: 202 new cases were reported on Monday health authorities said, as 1253 recoveries continued to lower Malta’s active case tally, now at 4,708. 103 persons remain in hospital, six in ITU. The death tally climbed to 534 with two men passing away overnight, aged 55 and 90 respectively.

Morning Briefing

Hundreds protest against Covid-19 rules

A crowd of a few hundred took the streets of Valletta to protest against what they termed as discriminatory Covid-19 rules. Protestors particularly target the mandatory vaccine requirement for access to a number of establishemnts such as restaurants and gyms. The organisers also used the event to call on people to sign a petition against the need for a valid vaccine certificate to enter restaurants. “We are humans, not a QR code. We are asking everyone to sign this petition to take to parliament and demand the government to remove the use of vaccination certificates at restaurants,” one organiser told the crowd. (Times of Malta)

Time to move forward – Robert Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced COVID-19 restrictions will start to be lifted in the first week of February. “We have had a good booster roll out. Measures have worked,” Abela told party supporters at a political event in Nadur, Gozo on Sunday. The PM followed up on statements by the Deputy PM Chris Fearne on Saturday, saying government had always said measures would be temporary. “Science showed we need a high vaccination rate to beat the pandemic. The imposed measures have been successful, and now is the time to move forward,” Abela said. Abela also slammed the opposition’s U-turn on coronavirus restrictions. “I cannot understand how Bernard Grech remains so populist. Restrictions were in line with other countries in Europe. The vaccine rules are there in a lot of countries.” (Malta Today)

PN wants to strengthen country’s governance – Bernard Grech

The Nationalist Party is the underdog because it does not have millions in taxpayers money to “squander” like the PL is doing and because of the lack of an impartial national broadcaster, said Opposition Leader Bernard Grech in the PN’s political rally in Santa Luċija on Sunday. Grech also said that the Labour Party in government does not have the public’s interest at heart, but rather focuses on the price one has, not the value Grech announced that in tomorrow’s Parliament session, the PN’s anti-corruption Bills will have their first reading, as the PN seeks to strengthen the country’s good governance. He said that the government delayed the discussion of the bills out of fear, calling it a ‘gimmick’ and insinuating the package of legislative bills was a money bill. (Malta Independent)

Covid-19 Update
Seven people died and 273 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday. Those who died while positive with the virus are two men aged 86 and one 89, and four women, aged 74, 81, 86 and 89. So far, 531 people have died while COVID-positive in Malta. A total 1,431 patients recovered overnight, bringing the number of active cases down to 5,761. Of those, 93 are currently in hospital while six require treatment at Mater Dei Hospital’s intensive treatment unit.

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