Malta-24 News Briefing Friday 24th July 2020 – UPDATE

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Update 1600

The Radisson Blu Resort St. Julian’s, the venue of the party which triggered the new Covid-19 cluster has decided to cancel parties due to take place this weekend. The parties were to be organised and hosted by third party specialists in the field, and the hotel was to serve as the venue under hire.

In a statement the hotel’s management said that the continues to place the health and safety of guests and staff alike foremost in any consideration, and continues to abide stringently to all health protocols including a focus on enhanced cleaning, PPE and other regulations as directed by the local authorities. The hotel’s protocols have again been audited by the local authorities, as recently as this morning. Notwithstanding that everything was found to be in order, the hotel’s management has decided to err on the side of caution and cancel this weekend’s bookings for the gatherings that were due to take place on its grounds. The Hotel remains in operation.

Update 1420 : Health Superintendent appeal

Professor Charmaine Gauci has appealed to the general public to avoid mass gatherings. Her appeal, while interviewed on NewsbookHour on 103 Malta’s Heart Radio Station, emphasised on the importance to follow the guidelines, have a coherent message and avoid mass gatherings where possible.

Updated 1239: Six new cases of coronavirus

There were six new cases of coronavirus, all of which related to the case identified yesterday.

This has been the largest increase for more than a month.

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Updated 0902: Newspaper Review

The Independent reports that a construction worker died, and another was seriously injured after a wall in a Cospicua site gave way on Thursday. Officers from the Occupational Health and Safety Authority were on site shortly after to question the contractor.

L-Orizzont identifies the victim of a construction accident in Cospicua on Thursday as a 36-year-old man from the Gambia. A 35-year-old colleague from Valletta, remains in critical condition.

In-Nazzjon says that the PN General Council will convene on July 31 to discuss whether to hold a confidence vote in Adrian Delia or to open a fresh leadership race. The motion was unanimously agreed by the Executive Committee on Thursday.

The Times follows a meeting of the PN’s Executive Committee on Thursday night where leader Adrian Delia was pushing for a vote of confidence in his leadership by paid-up members. Other members want to open a new leadership contest.

The Independent reports that PN Leader Adrian Delia wrote to the president of the party’s General Council requesting a vote of confidence in him by paid-up members. Objections were raised after it was pointed out that tesserati can only vote in a leadership race.

The Times says that state witness Melvin Theuma is communicating through facial expressions with his family and hospital staff after suffering serious injuries. Doctors told the paper the next few days will be critical for his condition.

L-Orizzont says that Melvin Theuma is kept in intensive care but is in stable condition. The self-confessed witness in the Caruana Galizia murder is under police protection round the clock.

In-Nazzjon breaks down Malta’s allocation from the EU budget and argues that the €2.2 billion figure includes €1.6 billion in administrative expenses, funds for the EU Asylum Support Office, and the country’s contributions to the bloc.

L-Orizzont speaks to PN deputy leader Robert Arrigo who said that he is often invited by media stations to talk about the situation within the party, but he believes that discussions should be kept to internal structures.

Morning Briefing

PN to call General Council to decide on next vote

In another marathon meeting lasting through the early hours of the morning, the Executive of the Nationalist Party agreed that its General Council will vote on August 1 on whether the party members should, at another stage, be asked to confirm Adrian Delia as party leader or hold a leadership election.

What is being described as a compromise deal was unanimously agreed after 1 am this morning, in a meeting which latest at least six hours, where various proposals for way forward were heatedly discussed. This discussion was triggered after the PN leader lost two votes of confidence earlier in July in both parliamentary group and the Executive.

Speaking to the media after this meeting, Delia said that it was a “clear show that everyone wanted to give their contribution.” He argued that the final choice in terms of leadership needed to be taken by the paid-up members. He also confirmed that he would stand for re-election if the council then decided that a leadership contest should be held.

Melvin Theuma in stable condition

In the latest medical bulletin issued yesterday evening, the Police said that DCG-murder witness Melvin Theuma was in stable condition. However, doctors he is not yet out of risk and the next few days are believed to be critical in terms of his medical condition. Sources who spoke to The Times of Malta said “the next week is going to be what determines whether he will pull through or not”.

The paper also reports that Theuma was yesterday trying to communicate with relatives and hospital staff through eye movements and facial expressions.

Coronavirus updates

Health authorities yesterday said that there was one new case of coronavirus in Malta, taking the tally to six. It was later revealed that this patient had attended a party at Radisson Hotel in St Julian’s, and tested positive later.

Health authorities are “strongly recommending” party-goers who were at the hotel between 17th and 19th July to get tested. Guests and staff are also being tested.

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