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Covid-19 active cases exceed 1,000 – Malta-24 News Briefing – Thursday 15 October 2020

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Updated 1745- News Portal Briefing

Times of Malta reports that Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers are requesting the court, presiding over journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder compilation, to ensure that electronic data concerning third parties who are unrelated to the case, is not divulged in public. 

MaltaToday says that Robert Abela can co-opt whoever he wants to parliament since the Labour Party statute does not require any such decision to be brought before it.

Newsbook reports that Malta has welcomed the arrest of militia leader under the Libyan Government of National Accord, Abdulrahman Milad known as Al Bija.

TVM reports that the Economy Minister Silvio Schembri said that to date the vouchers have left more than €52.6 million in the economy while almost 19% of the vouchers issued have not yet been used and can be used until the end of this month.

Updated 1233 – Active cases exceed 1,000

Health authorities have announced 112 new cases of coronavirus in Malta. With 42 persons recovering, the number of active cases has now shot up to 1009.

3106 persons have recovered while 45 persons have died.

The new cases resulted from 2,481 swab tests.

Updated 1206 – Chris Soler appointed State Advocate

Chris Soler has been selected by a commission of retired judges to serve as State Advocate, succeeding Victoria Buttigieg, who last month was appointed Attorney General.

He will be the second person to occupy this role since the separation of the roles previously held by the Advocate General.

Updated 1202 – Govt to step up enforcment measures – reports

Government has said that an update on the stepping up of enforcement to help control the growing spread of COVID-19 will be given shortly, The Times of Malta reports.

Meanwhile, 85% of people say that the Covid-19 vouchers helped them and the economy as a whole, a survey conducted by statistician Vincent Marmara found.

Updated 0823 – Newspaper Review

The Malta Business Weekly reports that 111 Covid-19 cases were registered on Wednesday, the highest number in a single day since the start of the pandemic. At 940, the number of active cases is also at a record high.

Business Today quotes government sources who reveal that the budget on Monday will include fiscal advantages and grants for businesses that invest their capital. Meanwhile, discussions on VAT reductions are still ongoing.

The Times quotes Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci who warned that the rate of Covid-19 spread in the community is becoming higher. She said that the right measures are in place, but people need to observe the rules.

The Independent says that a 59-year-old man died from Covid-19 on Tuesday while he was in intensive care, making him one of the youngest victims of the disease. The patient became the 45th coronavirus casualty.

L-Orizzont says that the average daily number of new Covid-19 cases in the last week rose to 97, the highest since the start of the outbreak. The number of active cases stands at 939.

In-Nazzjon carries a statement by the Union of Professional Educators demanding the closure of schools following a surge in COvid-19 cases. Meanwhile, an ultimatum imposed on the Education Ministry by the Union of Teachers expires today.

The Times says a man pleaded guilty of killing his colleague and former girlfriend Shannon Mak in Santa Venera in 2018. Dutchman Jelle Rijpma changed his plea after repeatedly denying charges and the case will now be heard by a judge.

The Malta Business Weekly reports that a hospital in Paris has commissioned Maltese architecture company AP Valletta to design a LiftTower as part of an extension project. The hospital was first opened in 1935.

The Independent says that a national survey finds that 85 percent of people believe that the Covid-19 voucher scheme helped the economy while 96 percent want the system to be issued again. The survey was conducted by Vincent Marmara for the Economy Ministry.

L-Orizzont says that a court ruling will appoint an administrator to control the companies owned by Keith Schembri. The decision by Justice Lawrence Mintoff came after the former chief of staff’s lawyers appealed to the court to soften the ‘draconian’ asset freeze order.

Business Today quotes a decision by the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life who declared Joseph Muscat’s direct order to award an €80,000 consultancy role to Konrad Mizzi was in breach of law.

In-Nazzjon reports that the Opposition filed a motion in the House asking for a public inquiry into the Electrogas deal. The motion was presented by Opposition Leader Bernard Grech who said that the truth needs to come out.

The Malta Business Weekly says that the UK Foreign Office is advising Britonsagainst travelling to Malta this Winter, following a surge in Covid-19 cases. Malta remains on the UK’s quarantine list.

L-Orizzont quotes animal activist Rosalind Agius who said that Malta is too small to operate zoos, particularly ones that do not implement any conservation programmes. Agius agrees with law amendments prohibiting direct interaction between people and wild animals. 

Morning Briefing

Malta Chamber publishes Budget proposals

The Malta Chamber has published its proposals for a formative budget, which looks at the short term, but also lays the way for a long-term vision.  “Monday’s budget needs to be a formative budget, which will determine the country’s future following this pandemic. It should aim to forge our economic future not just with short term measures, which are key to recovery, but also with a long-term vision for a more sustainable and resilient future” said Perit David Xuereb, President of The Malta Chamber as he unveiled the business representative body’s recommendations for the annual Budget 2021 during a press event on Wednesday.

The proposals are based on three pillars: Recover – Re-Invent – Re-Invest, with the Chamber saying that to reach these goals, the budget needs to incentivise the economy to reskill, rebuild, restructure, and re-engineer.

Covid-19 Update

A 59-year-old man has become Malta’s latest COVID-19 victim, the Health Ministry reported. He is the 45th person person to die following infection by coronavirus. The Health Ministry reported that the man was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital on October 1 and was confirmed positive to COVID-19 the following day.

Health authorities reported 111 cases of coronavirus, with 52 persons recovering in the previous 24 hours. This takes the number of active cases to 940.

The Union of Professional Educators has called for schools to close down immediately, claiming that a particular educator that has contracted the virus has passed on the virus to her elderly, vulnerable parents.

Labour MP resigns seat, paving way or another co-option

Labour MP Etienne Grech has resigned his parliamentary seat, citing personal reasons. Grech, a family doctor, was elected on the fourth district (Paola, Fgura, Tarxien) in 2017 in a casual election. His resignation will provide the Party with the opportunity to nominate a new person to the House directly.

This will be the second co-option that Labour will be making following the resignation of former prime minister Joseph Muscat from the House. No nominations for the casual election were submitted for his seat on the second district. It is understood that MEP Miriam Dalli has accepted to take this place, with a view of being given a Cabinet post.

However, Former Gozo minister Justyne Caruana has dismissed news of her impending resignation

PN files motion seeking inquiry into Electrogas power station deal

PN leader Bernard Grech has asked parliament to approve the setting up of an inquiry board that should be tasked with looking into any abuses or legal breaches that took place in connection the Electrogas power station project.

Grech said that the motion will prove to be a critical test for Robert Abela’s administration. With numerous admissions from government officials that mistakes were made, their support will be a concrete step forward in revealing the truth and correcting any wrongdoings. 

CDE News

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