Companies are reducing operations because of Covid absenteeism – MEA / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 12 January 2022

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Times of Malta says that the lead suspect in the Sliema murder case is to be discharged from state mental health hospital Mount Carmel and is expected to continue with his police interrogation. 

MaltaToday says that the Forum Unions Maltin is asking for a meeting over rumours the government plans to make the COVID vaccine mandatory for health and hospitality workers as it warns such a move would have ‘significant’ ramifications

Newsbook says that the much-loved Victor Calvagna will be laid to rest this afternoon with a funeral mass held at the Mosta basilica at 3:30pm.

TVM says that Those who are over 30 will now be eligible for the Equity Sharing scheme which is falls under the Housing Authority in cooperation with APS Bank. To date, this scheme was only open to those who are 40 years old and over.

Companies reduce operations because of Covid absenteeism: The Malta Employers’ Association said companies are struggling to operate after a rise in Covid-19 cases. A survey conducted among 325 members showed that 32 per cent of respondents reported
an absence rate higher than 15%. A total of 58% of respondents said they are now teleworking to deal with absenteeism. 51% said they reduced operations. “The fact that the spike in the number of positive Covid cases during the past three weeks
has also amplified the number of employees who have been in primary contact with such cases has led to a dramatic increase in absenteeism because of quarantine,” the MEA said.”The disruption in business activity will have a negative impact on GDP and
government finances, given that the wage supplement will have to be extended to at least the first quarter of 2022 to many businesses as a result.”


67% of adults have gotten booster- Fearne: More than two out of three adults have received their booster Covid-19 vaccine, Health Minister Chris Fearne said. Chris Fearne said that 67% of those aged over 18 have have been given the third shot.In a tweet, he appealed for others to register. The health authorities have been pushing to boost as many people as possible amid the Omicron wave. Malta had the fourth-highest booster rate among European Union members, according the European Centre for Disease Control.

Covid-19 update: There was a slight rise in Covid-19 cases, as 673 people were found to be positive. Recoveries reached 1179 as 116 people are in hospital battling Covid-19. Nine of these people are in the ITU. During the last 24 hours, 3 men aged 77, 87 and 88 and an 86-year-old woman died.

Morning Briefing

Judge Mallia to lead experts to implement media recommendations of Caruana Galizia inquiry

Government has announced that Judge Michael Mallia will lead a committee of experts that will give advice on how to implement recommendations related to the media made by the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry. He will be joined by a number of journalists, academics and a lawyer. The PN described this announcement as a “weak reaction” to its own mega-bill with proposed legislative changes and “a tiny step made by a panicked government”. NGO Repubblika said it was disappointing that no international experts or “local experts with competence and integrity” were included in the committee. It said that while some of the committee members nominated could contribute positively, others lacked the necessary independence from the government. The Committee of Experts has a one-year term. However, it has been asked to provide feedback in the next two months on several draft laws prepared by government to strengthen the protection of journalists. (Times of Malta)

Thake companies might not be eligible for Covid benefits

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo told Parliament that companies belonging to Nationalist MP David Thake might not be eligible to benefit from the COVID-19 tax deferral scheme, because arrears predate the pandemic and not all annual accounts were filed. Speaking during a debate on taxation rules, Bartolo argued that COVID-19 tax deferral schemes, saying these were only available for companies without pending tax arrears before the COVID-19 outbreak. Thake insisted the issue was not one of misappropriation of funds when asked whether the outstanding payments predated March 2020 when the COVID tax deferral scheme came into force. “When you are faced with issues of cash flow, and you have employees, you are faced with decisions, and this is a situation every self-employed or company director is faced with,” Thake said. (Maltatoday)

Melvin Theuma wants Court to make state liable for damages for Caruana Galizia murder

Melvin Theuma’s lawyers have asked a court to make the State a party to a case for damages filed by the family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia against those responsible for her murder. While Madam Justice Anna Felice will be issuing a decree on a request in February, no parties in the procedure opposed the request. The case had initially been filed against Yorgen Fenech, who is indicted as the mastermind behind the murder, but was later extended to include Theuma and other parties or alleged parties to the murder. (The Malta Independent)

Covid-19 update: The number of new Covid-19 cases continued going down to 432, with 868 recoveries. There are 126 patients being treated at Mater Dei hospital, 9 of whom are in the ITU. During the last 24 hours, two men aged 77 and 81 and an 81-year-old woman died while Covid-19 positive, the health authorities said.

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