Update 1800h – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne appealed for caution despite zero cases registered today. In a post on his social media, the Health Minister said that despite today’s Zero COVID19 cases, his appeal is for prudence and responsibility: continuing Malta’s success depends on each and every one of us.
— Chris Fearne (@chrisfearne) July 25, 2020
Update 1700h – Daniel J. Micallef has been confirmed as Deputy Leader for Party Affairs of the Partit Laburista. The Malta Independent reports that on Saturday, the Labour Party held an election to fill in the recently vacated post of PL Deputy Leader for Party Affairs, previously occupied by Chris Cardona. There was an 86% turnout with 656 placed their vote. The majority (98%) of those who attended voted in favour of having Micallef take up the role with only 2% voting against. There were 634 yes votes, 13 no votes, three abstentions and six invalid votes.
Update 1230h – There were no new cases of Coronavirus reported today.
Update 1100h – The lawyer Bernard Grech has emerged as a possible contender for the leadership of the Nationalist Party, declaring that he has been mulling the possibility for the past six months. Dr Grech was interviewed by Fr Joe Borg during Newsbook Hour, on 103 Malta’s Heart. Dr Grech said that if the country and the party needs him “I’m ready to consider contesting Partit Nazzjonalista’s leadership, highlighting that the country is important and that one enters politics to serve the country. ” Let me be clear, I’m not saying I want to contest a leadership contest. What am saying is that I’m ready to serve the party in any role if this is beneficial for the country. We know that there are internal problems but we have bigger and more serious problems at a national level.”
Updated 0848 – Newspaper Review
The Times leads with a note written by state witness Melvin Theuma from his hospital bed who said that no one was involved in the incident that left him with multiple wounds at his house on Wednesday. He wrote that he stabbed himself out of remorse.
In-Nazzjon says that Culture Minister Jose Herrera indicated that self-confessed middleman in the Caruana Galizia plot, Melvin Theuma, is likely to have attempted a suicide. The minister said that the state had offered maximum protection.
The Independent speaks to Reporters Without Borders editor-in-chief Pauline Aldes-Mevel who described the incident with Melvin Theuma as ‘obscene’. She said that the situation should not have been allowed to develop.
L-Orizzont quotes former PN MP Franco Debono who said that it was ‘ironic’ that Lawrence Gonzi was supporting dissenting members of the PN parliamentary group. Debono said that there had been attempts to silence him when he was a rebel MP.
The Independent says that members of the PN Executive Committee found a compromise in letting the General Council decide on either opening a new leadership race or run a vote of confidence among paid-up party members.
The Times reports that five new cases of coronavirus were linked to a three-day party at a hotel that took place last weekend. A sixth person, a relative of one of the partygoers. Has also contracted the disease.
L-Orizzont says that the rise in Covid-19 cases reported on Friday was the highest since mid-June. The paper says that people have raised concerns over mass events such as parties and feast marches.
In-Nazzjon quotes medical association president Martin Balzan who said that the country is risking another outbreak of the virus with mass events. Balzan was speaking after it was announced that six people were infected at a party last weekend.
L-Orizzont says that the permanent committee for Gozo affairs is proposing measures to allow more Gozitans to work from home.
Updated 0817 – DBRS confirms ‘A’ rating for Malta
Times of Malta reports this morning that DBRS Ratings GmbH has confirmed Malta’s long-term foreign and local currency – issuer ratings at A (high). The trend is defined as stable.
The credit rating agency said that Malta registered a strong economic and fiscal performance in recent years has left the country relatively well placed to mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19.
After a few weeks seemingly on the backburner of mainstream media and the public’s collective thoughts, coronavirus in Malta returned with a bang this Friday with seven new cases testing positive after an all-weekend party at the Radisson Blu Hotel in St Julian’s.
A ward at Mount Carmel Hospital has also been shut down after a health worker tested positive for COVID-19. The Times of Malta reports that said that this health workers is one of the party attendees. Health authorities have issued a strong recommendation to anyone who attended the event to get tested. Hotel staff have also been tested and the hotel has been cleaned.
Meanwhile, the same hotel has on Friday cancelled a weekend event that was supposed to take place within the premises due to what party organisers attributed to an increase in media pressure.
Offline, the party organisers, confirmed the cancellation on Facebook, lamenting that “it is a kick in the face considering all the safety measures me put into place”.
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.
Prof Charmaine Gauci, Health Superintendent, made a strong appeal, during an interview on 103, for people to avoid mass gatherings.
Protection inside Theuma’s house had been removed
Protection inside Melvin Theuma’s home was removed last December, on a request presented by his lawyers. Theuma is still recovering in hospital after being found with knife wounds, including a slit throat, inside his apartment. The story was confirmed by the Police after being revealed by Maltatoday.
In a statement on Friday evening, the Police said that Theuma was still in intensive care and his condition remained stable.