Updated 1745- News Portal briefing
The Times of Malta reports that Fr Lino Cardona, 76, is Malta’s 60th Covid-19 victim.
MaltaToday reports that Casual elections will be held to fill the parliamentary seat vacated on the 13th District after the death of Nationalist MP Frederick Azzopardi, and the European Parliament seat vacated by Miriam Dalli.
TVM reports that Malta and Libya have signed a technical cooperation agreement on maritime and aviation affairs.
Newsbook reports that President of Malta George Vella has stressed on the importance that development in Gozo does not take place at the expense of the natural environment, which is one of the main attractions of the island.
Updated 1233 – Active cases up to 1927
Health authorities reported another 106 cases of coronavirus in Malta over the past 24 hours. These were identified from 2,966 tests and take the tally of active cases to 1,927.
91 patients have recovered from the disease.
Updated 1130 – Two more die from Covid-19
Malta’s Covid-19 death tally edged up to 59 as two men passed away yesterday night.
The two men were aged 82 and 66 respectively, the Health Ministry said.
Updated 0804 – Newspaper Review
Business Today says that bar owners are hoping for the government to reconsider its decision to close down clubs and bars. They say that the new Covid-19 measures are ‘discriminatory’ because they allow snack bars and other eateries to remain open.
The Independent says that new Covid-19 regulations coming into effect today will close down almost 500 bars for the month of November. Besides bars, all catering establishments except restaurants are impacted by new regulations.
The Malta Business Weekly reports that the CEO and the Chairman of French bank BNP Paribas have been ordered to appear before a Maltese court in a case filed by British-Israeli businessman Jacob Agam.
The Times says that the CEO of the financial services watchdog, Joseph Cuschieri, travelled to Las Vegas and stayed at a luxury casino hotel all paid for by Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, one month after he was appointed to the role in 2018.
In-Nazzjon quotes a statement by the Nationalist Party demanding the sacking of the head of the Finances Services Authority, Joseph Cuschieri, after it emerged that he had accepted a holiday paid for by Yorgen Fenech. The party said the news is a blow to the sector in Malta.
L-Orizzont says that the Nationalist Party is making an about-face on the Gozo-Malta tunnel proposal after it had voted in favour of the project in parliament. The Finance Minister announced in the Budget that the first studies have been conducted.
The Independent quotes Economic Crimes Unit head Alexandra Mamo who said that a judicial probe into the Panama Papers is at a ‘crucial stage’. Mamo was testifying before the Caruana Galizia public inquiry on Wednesday.
The Times says that consultants at the intensive care unit have spoken out for the first time about the pressures of the pandemic, warning political leaders that the system is stretched to the limits.
L-Orizzont reports that a the first Covid-19 rapid testing centre was inaugurated in Floriana yesterday after Malta received its first 20,000 kits for the purpose. Another centre is expected to be opened next week in the northern region.
The Malta Business Weekly quotes a Facebook message by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna who denied media reports that he is planning to resign in the coming month. He said that the news was created by the Opposition to deflect from the Budget.
In-Nazzjon commemorates the 40th anniversary since the death of former Prime Minister Ġorġ Borg Olivier. The paper says that the statesman was respected by all sides of the political spectrum.
Business Today quotes a study by TopRatedCasinos.co.uk which finds that terms associated with sport betting are searched around 5.48 times for every 1,000 people living in Malta, the highest rate in the EU.
The Malta Business Weekly reports that media company Conde Nast voted Valletta as the third-friendliest city in Europe. Galway ranked first with 97.33 points ahead of Dublin on 95.81 points and Valletta on 95 points.
MFSA CEO travelled to Las Vegas with Yorgen Fenech
The Opposition and civil society organisation Repubblika called for MFSA CEO Joseph Cuschieri’s resignation after reports that he had travelled to Las Vegas at the invitation of Yorgen Fenech.
Reports said that the Cuschieri stayed at the renowned Caesars Palace in 2018. At the time, the MFSA CEO had just left the Malta Gaming Authority, but Cuschieri denied any conflict of interest, suggested that he accompanied Fenech to advise on regulatory matters.
In a statement, the PN described this news as another blow to the reputation of the financial services sector and demanded that PM Robert Abela dismisses Cuschieri.
The PN added that Abela must immediately declare when he got to know of this trip, and ask the chairpersons of all public entities to publicly declare any case of conflict of interest like this which could prevent e them from carrying out their duties.
Idle tourism workers offered contact-tracing duties
The Malta Tourism Authority will be seeking out employees eligible for the wage supplement scheme to join the ranks of contact-tracing teams.
The scheme, which has been setup in collaboration between MTA and Malta Enterprise, will allow employees establishments with an MTA licence to carry out contact-tracing duties with the Health Authorities over the coming months. This includes those employees working in bars and catering establishments.
Those chosen for the scheme will receive the full €800 wage supplement with an added top-up of €5.28 per hour or the difference between the wage supplement and Scale 10.
Two persons passed away from Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours, taking Malta’s tally to 57, a 91-year old man and an 89-year old woman. Health authorities reported 75 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, while 74 persons have since recovered. This leaves the number of active cases practically unchanged at 1,915.
Yesterday, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that two COVID-19 swabbing centres which will focus on rapid testing will begin operating in the next few days. One will be based on the ground of Boffa Hospital in Floriana, while the other will be in a still-to-be-announced location in the North.