Health authorities report 55th Covid-death / Malta-24 News Briefing – Tuesday 27 October 2020

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Updated 1745- News Portal Briefing

The Times of Malta reports that a third attempt to award a tender for a €115 million ferry service between Malta and Gozo was killed in its tracks on Tuesday after the Public Contracts Review Board ordered its cancellation.  

MaltaToday reports that Malta’s parliamentary secretary for citizenship Alex Muscat has said a letter of formal notice announcing action on Malta’s sale of citizenship to the global elite “lacks any legal basis”.

Newsbook says that the man charged with the murder of Chantelle Chetcuti has been granted bail by Magistrate Rachel Montebello.

TVM reports that deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne reaffirmed that the maximum number of people who can gather outside is 6, and stressed that what cannot be done outside should not be done inside in private homes.

Updated 1315 – Second Covid-death reported

The Ministry of Health reported that an 88-year-old woman died early on Tuesday. She is the second person to be announced dead today in relation to COVID-19. She was hospitalised on 21st October, a day after being diagnosed to suffer from coronavirus.

This takes the death tally to 55.

Updated 1233 – 107 new cases of coronavirus

The health authorities have reported 107 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of active cases up to 1,915. The latest daily bulletin reported that 85 patients have recovered.

Updated 0840 – Malta registers 54th Covid-victim

A 70-year-old man became Malta’s 54th victim of COVID-19, passing away late yesterday night.

The Ministry of Health said that the man had been admitted to Mater Dei on October 15, and was disagnosed with the novel coronavirus on the same day.

Updated 0833- Newspaper Review

The Times leads with new health measures announced by the government ordering the closure of bars and clubs until the end of November. Snack bars and kiosks may still open until 23:00, but no alcohol can be served.

The Independent says that the limit on public gatherings has been decreased from 10 to 6 as health authorities seek to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Fines for breaches of safety measures have risen to €200.

In-Nazzjon says that the number of active Covid-19 cases rose to 1,907 on Monday. The total number of infections since the start of the outbreak in March climbed to 5,795.

L-Orizzont reports that for the first time in 13 days, new Covid-19 cases were less than 100 on Monday as the health authorities registered 80 new patients and 63 recoveries. Meanwhile, a 73-year-old man died from the virus, the 53rd since the start of the pandemic.

The Times follows the Budget response by the Opposition Leader on Monday who criticised the ‘passive and mediocre’ attitude of the government towards the challenges the country is facing. Bernard Grech said the budget made empty promises to the most vulnerable.

In-Nazzjon reports on the Budget response by Opposition Leader Bernard Grech on Monday where he said the country needs to change its direction to overcome the challenges of Covid-19 and corruption. The theme of Grech’s speech was ‘stronger together’.

L-Orizzont says app-based taxi drivers are approaching the General Workers Union to seek employment protection. Drivers told the union that they do not have a work contract and most of the time it is unclear who the employer is.

The Independent speaks to Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia who after NGOs criticised plans for a waste incinerator. The minister said that modern waste-to-energy facilities are efficient enough that they can form part of the urban centre.

L-Orizzont speaks to persons who have recovered from the Covid-19 infection but still feel the symptoms of the disease on their health including shortness of breath. Despite being a respiratory infection, the virus can affect the kidneys and the brain.

Updated 0800 – Fire in Marsa

A fire in the Menqa area of Marsa on Tuesday morning resulted in a wide cloud of smoke across the area. A number of fire engines were seen in the area, but the source of the blaze was not immediately apparent.

In comments to the media, the police said no one appeared to have been injured.

PN leader hits out at Govt handling of pandemic, lack of vision

In his first budgetary response, newly-elected PN Leader Bernard Grech yesterday evening had strong words on government’s handling of COVID-19. Grech said that reopening the country without taking certain precautions was a cardinal mistake that led to the high number of cases being experienced today.

Focusing on last Monday’s budget, Bernard Grech described it as a “virtual reality budget” and unimaginative. The PN leader said the budget lacked a strategic vision for the medium-to-long term in light of the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the economy.

While quoting extensively a recent survey showing a significant drop in investor trust in Malta, Grech said the PN wanted a country run on the principle of good governance, where economic results did not come at the expense of the environment. 

He put forward 12 pillars for the basis of the PN’s economic foundation; the environment, quality of life, youth, human resources, higher wages, respect, a new social contract, social development, women, Gozo, agriculture and a secure economic vision. 

Covid-19: Further restrictions announced

As of this Thursday all bars and local band clubs will remain closed. Furthermore, as of the same date, only six people can convene in public spaces instead of 10. 

In a statement issued by the Government, it was outlined that all bars and local band clubs will remain closed until 1st December 6am.

Snack bars and gabbanas may remain open, but in no circumstances can they serve, offer or sell any type of alcoholic beverages. They must also be closed between 11pm and 5am the next morning.  Furthermore, only six people are allowed to convene in public spaces. This applies in queues and bus stops, unless the two metre distance is maintained.

This measure does not apply for those who live within the same residence. Ignoring this measure will result in a €200 fine. If the fine is paid prior to proceedings being brought to the Justice Commissioner, the fine is reduced to €100. 

Health authorities had reported 80 new cases and 63 recoveries, the first time in two weeks with less than a three-digit increase. The newly-infected patients were identified through 2,811 tests carried out in the past 24 hours. The number of active cases now stands at 1,895.

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