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Live Update: Covid-19 Bulletin Malta – Tuesday 19th May 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Update 1600

The President of Malta, Dr, George Vella held a meeting with the highest authorities of the Health Sector in Malta. The delegation was led by the Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne,

The President thanked all those involved in the sector for their excellent work in controlling the Covid-19 and the way they handled the situation, stressing that this is an expression of gratitude on behalf of all those residing in Malta. He encouraged them to continue in their work and efforts in this situation while building on the results achieved.

The number of active coronavirus cases in Malta has gone up to 103, as 11 new cases were identified in the past 24 hours. Malta has now seen a total of 569 cases, with 460 recovering.

In the first day without a briefing by Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci since the onset of the crisis, the Health Ministry announced through its social media platforms that 1519 swab testes were carried out in the past 24 hours.

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Updated 0903

Minister for Tourism Julia Farrugia Portelli is addressing a press conference regarding the tourism sector. “As the population returns to normality, the public will find that the places they will be visiting – whether restaurants, cafeterias or beaches – these will be safer than before the onset of the pandemic”.

Julia Farrugia Portelli said that Maltese families will be able to enjoy internal tourism with the highest standards.

Catering establishment and hotels should contact the MTA helpline (Tel: 21692447) prior to re-opening on Friday. They will require a go-ahead certificate (“compliance safety protocol”) from the Authority which will need to be affixed to the entrance of the establishment. Outlets failing to observe this protocol may be stripped of their licence. She said that inspections will be held simultaneous by the tourism and health authorities, with a unit within OPM ensuring coordination.

Johann Buttigieg, CEO MTA, is giving further details.

He explained that a declaration confirming that the health protocol is being observed needs to be filled in by an appointed officer on behalf of the establishment.

He said that those establishments who can cater for customers on the inside and on the outside, can only do so in the latter area. Smoking will not be permitted on the outside.

Sauces, ketchups, oil and vinegar shall be provided in disposable format. Tablecloths and napkins have to be changed after every sitting. Clients will be required disinfectant gels prior to entering and leaving the dining area

Tables are to be limited to groups of not more than 6 persons or persons from the same
household. Tables arranged so that the distance from the front of one chair to the
front of the chair behind it shall be 3m apart and the back to back distance between
chairs is to be 2m.

Traditional clubs (każini) will be allowed to re-open, but only waiter service will be permitted, i.e. not sitting at bars.

Additional details can be found in the full rule list which is available on this document: MTA_Rules_COVID19.

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MTA2

Updated 0726

Situation not as stable as claimed – Maltese doctors

The situation is not as stable as Government is claiming, according to the Medical Association of Malta, noting that the 14 cases reported on Saturday were equivalent to 1,700 cases in Italy in a day. It also reported that Mater Dei in the last 10 days faced the worst crisis since the start of epidemic with three wards needing to be closed, and a record 287 persons on quarantine.

The doctors said that the serious medical risks arising from such measures could only be prevented by honest and unbiased information, strict discipline on social distancing, and hygiene which is regulated and vigorously enforced with fines.

“The mistakes made with the voluntary quarantine following air travel should not be repeated. Furthermore full and honest information should be provided to clients about potential risks”.

The association also expressed its disagreement with regard to expanding social gatherings to six which was contradictory to social distancing.

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Yesterday evening, Prime Minister, Robert Abela in a two-hour long press conference announced the easing of a number of restrictive measures as from this Friday.

Among the key measures, restaurants, cafeterias, snack bars as well as services such as hairdressers, nail technicians and barbers will be allowed to re-opening with specific social distancing measures.

For the full lowdown of the press conference, check out our detailed coverage here.

Prime Minister Robert Abela expressed his satisfaction that the country has been steered to safer waters and is able to celebrate its success against an unprecedented crisis. He said that while other countries were in big trouble, Malta has acted in such a manner to emerge victorious from this crisis.

He said that Friday 22nd May will see Malta take further steps to return to normality. He said that Government is not seeking a compromise between health and the economy. We are not in a position to have to choose, Abela insisted. Rather, the medical and scientific evidence is showing that these decisions are reasonable and rationale. The PM appealed to the public “not to be affected by a fear”.

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Earlier, Health Superintendent Prof Gauci said that 1,017 tests were carried out in the past 24 hours, resulting in five new positive cases, taking the tally to 558. During the daily press briefing, Prof Charmaine Gauci said that more than 51,000 tests have been carried out so far.

Malta’s current active case total stands at 96.

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