Malta-24 News Briefing – Sunday 25 October 2020 – Updated

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Update 1700h

A 75-year-old man was confirmed as the 52nd person to die of Covid-19 on Sunday. The Ministry of Health said that the man had tested positive for Covid-19 on 23 October and was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital earlier today, where he ultimately succumbed to the disease. Newsbook

Update 1400h

Mario Grech, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops and the former Bishop of Gozo will be elevated to the rank of Cardinal, the Gozo Diocese has said on Facebook. “In his mass, Pope Francis just honoured us with the appointment of the first Gozitan Cardinal, Mario Grech, Bishop Emeritus of Gozo and Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops. Congratulations!” The post also read that the official appointment for Grech and 12 others will be on 28 November. The Malta Independent

Update 1300h

Archbishop Charles Scicluna reserved strong words for usurers in his homily during Sunday Mass, insisting that had to answer to God for their actions. The Archbishop was celebrating mass at the Madonna tal-Ħlas Sanctuary in Qormi when he reflected on the practice. He recounted that the Book of Exodus warned those who lent money to the needy not to act like moneylenders in a passage that was one of the readings of the day, though he insisted that that word was too soft to describe usury. “Lending is an act of mercy. But to demand an additional €100 when you lend €100 is theft; it is a sin that shouts out to the Lord,” Mgr Scicluna maintained.

Update 1244h

125 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the past 24 hours, with 89 persons recovering, the Health Ministry said. This brings the total number of cases to just under 5,500 with 1,800 being active ones.

3,285 swabs were carried out on Saturday, taking this particular tally to over 317,904.

The Ministry also said that from the 115 cases reported yesterday, just less than half of them were traced to previously known cases: 46 to family members, six to work colleagues, three to other clusters while just one was imported.

Update 1200h

PM Robert Abela expressed his disappointment after the 11pm bar curfew saw large crowds gather in St George’s Bay, despite COVID-19 regulations calling for social distance and minimising social gatherings. 

In a political gathering in Gozo, Abela admitted that he felt frustrated when he saw photos making the rounds on social media of large crowds gathering at a St Julian’s beach. MaltaToday

Opposition leader Bernard Grech wants the nation to be more united, especially as Malta continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.  In a short video message aired on Facebook, Grech, who was elected Nationalist Party leader earlier in October, said the love for Malta should instil in everyone the desire to see the country do well.  “We need to change what needs to be changed, eradicate what is wrong and improve what works,” he said. The video was released ahead of Grech’s Budget reaction on Monday. Times of Malta

Update: 1000h

An 82-year-old man has passed away with Covid-19, the Health Ministry said in a statement. The man was taken to Mater Dei Hospital on 30 September, and he tested negative. Due to having Covid-19 symptoms, he was again tested after passing away and found positive. Government / Health Ministry

A Briton was seriously injured early on Sunday when he fell between the fourth and third storeys of the common areas of an apartment block. The incident happened at 1am in Triq E.H. Furse, Msida. The 31-year-old was assisted by a medical team and rescuers of the Civil Protection Department and taken to hospital. Magistrate Gabriella Vella is holding an inquiry. Police / Times of Malta

Update 0800h – Newspaper Briefing

Malta Today says that self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma was advised by Edgar Brincat, known as ‘Il-Ġojja’, on what to say during secretly-recorded conversations with Yorgen Fenech. The police hadtapped calls between Brincat and Theuma.

The Sunday Times reveals that Chinese businessman Chen Chang had made a presentation to Enemalta’s board about the Montenegro wind farm project in 2015, describing a company called Cifidex as the ‘sole agent’ a full year before it actually acquired the shares.

It-Torċa reports on the measures announced in the 2021 Budget and said that pensioners over 75 years will receive an added €618 next year while families of workers will receive an extra €748. 

Illum says that Prime Minister Robert Abela is expected to announce a Cabinet reshuffle in November. New MP Miriam Dalli is touted to be given responsibility for a ‘super ministry’ covering several areas.

The Independent on Sunday publishes an interview with Health Minister Chris Fearne who warned that Covid-19 infections are expected to increase in Winter. The minister insisted that the situation remains under control. 

Il-Mument says that Opposition Leader Bernard Grech will tomorrow deliver his response to the Budget in parliament. The paper says that the measures announced by the Government failed to provide a long-term plan for Malta’s economy.

The Sunday Times says that Prime Minister Robert Abela had represented the tal-Maksar brothers in legal disputes between 2012 and 2016 and is seeking advice about whether to recuse himself from decisions associated with them in the Caruana Galizia case. 

The Independent on Sunday reports that newly co-opted MP Clyde Caruana will retain his role as the Prime Minister’s Head of Secretariat. Caruana denied that the post would hinder him from holding the government to account in parliament. 

Il-Mument reports on the 50th victim of Covid-19 after a 77-year-old man died from the infection on Saturday. The number of active cases is currently 1,850 more than a fifth of total registered cases since March.

Malta Today speaks to respiratory physician Dr Josef Micallef who said that nine in ten people Covid-19 patients who recover from the disease continue to experience effects long after testing negative.

It-Torċa says that the Authority for Standards is creating consulting groups composed of people who use social wellbeing services. The exercise will help the Authority improve its programmes.

Morning Briefing

25% of restaurants consider shuttng their doors

A quarter of all catering establishments around the island are considering stopping their operations in view of the significant decrease in sales resulting from the current pandemic.

The survey, which was carried out by the Association of Catering Establishment (ACE) found that for 26% of restaurants closure was a realistic option, while 42% were biding their time. It was only the remaining 23% that felt certain on their prospects and confirmed that come what may they will keep to operate.

On the same level, one of four catering establishments said that they would have to shed staff.

Malta to finalise carbon neutrality strategy before end of year

Malta’s strategy for carbon neutrality – which the country aims to achieve by 2050 – will be finalised in the coming weeks according to Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia.

During the Environment Council of Ministers in Luxembourg, the Minister said that the government’s efforts to ensure that Malta’s power generation is LNG-based means that today, our country is already low-carbon, putting Malta ahead among its European peers.

Government to appeal Mobility Package

Malta has filed a complaint before the Court of Justice of the European Union against Mobility Package 1. The package of measures adopted by the Council and the European Parliament last July, which was originally intended to modernize EU road transport rules, included in its final adopted version two specific rules: the ‘Return-Home of Vehicles’ rule and the ‘Cabotage Cooling-Off period’ rule.

Both these rules were not part of the original proposals presented by the European Commission but were only added towards the end of the legislative procedure, notwithstanding the objections of several member states, including Malta.

Covid-19 Update

Malta added another 115 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, detected from one of the highest number of swabs taken so far – 3144. Some 39 coronavirus patients recovered, meaning Malta now has 1845 active cases.

Meanwhile, authorities also reported Malta’s 50 death, with a 77 year old man is the latest victim of Coronavirus in Malta. The man died in a residence for the elderly during the night.

CDE News

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