45 new Covid cases / Malta News Briefing

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Times of Malta reports that Artists have reacted angrily to a remark by Culture Minister José Herrera in which he implied that they lack the IQ for business.

MaltaToday reports that former Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Deborah Schembri has been made Malta Developers Association director general.

Newsbook reports that former Allied Group managing director Vince Buhagiar told the police that due to his experience in the printing sector he could advise Kasco Group’s Keith Schembri since the latter was new in the field.

TVM reports that no one was injured in a fire that broke out early this morning when a bus caught fire in Burmarrad.

Updated 1239 – Covid-19 Update

Covid-19 cases reached 45 today, with 67 new recoveries The number of active cases has gone down to 400. A total of 1,512 swab tests were taken
yesterday. No new deaths were registered.

Updated 1038 – New schemes for business

PM Robert Abela announced an additional €20 million in aid to businesses, and tax credits of €78 million to help businesses regenerate themselves and kickstart the road to economic recovery.

Schemes will also be made available to businesses that remodel in a way which is sustainable, digital and environmentally friendly, while other incentives will be given to those businesses that have to remain closed after 10 May.

Abela said that Government wants to strengthen employees and businesses. Malta was only one of three countries in the EU to experience job growth in 2020.

Enterprise Minister Miriam Dalli said that the new incentives were discussed with all business stakeholders. She said that so far, Malta Enterprise has dished out over EUR 455 million through the Government’s Wage Supplement.

She also announced that Government will be extending the rental and electricity schemes. On rentals, the assistance will be extended by 50% on what was paid last year. The extension will be available to all businesses receiving the Wage Supplement.

The electricity subsidy will apply from July to August, supporting businesses in kickstarting the economy.

On the other hand, businesses remaining closed after 10th May will receive a one-time 1,000 euro grant.

Newspaper Review

The Times reports that a Maltese man is being flown in from India after falling severely ill from the coronavirus. The 47-year-old travelled to the subcontinent with his wife to complete a child adoption process.

L-Orizzont leads with an announcement by Social Justice Minister Michael Falzon that the government is allocating

The Times reports that a Maltese man is being flown in from India after falling severely ill from the coronavirus. The 47-year-old travelled to the subcontinent with his wife to complete a child adoption process.

L-Orizzont leads with an announcement by Social Justice Minister Michael Falzon that the government is allocating €10 million to redress ‘injustices’ suffered by public sector workers that served in the corps after 1979. Around 5,000 are expected to apply.

The Independent says that brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio have filed a second request for a presidential pardon, a week after Cabinet turned down their original plea. In their letter, the brothers said that it is in everyone’s interest to get the truth out.

In-Nazzjon reports that some restaurants owners have chosen to remain closed until the limit on opening hours is lifted. Measures announced by the Prime Minister said table service is being restricted until 5:00 pm from May 10.

The Independent speaks with BirdLife Malta head of conservation, Nicholas Barbara, who said that officers patrolling hunting areas for illegal shooting of birds are thinly spread this year because of the pandemic.

The Times quotes a report by the Ombudsman condemning recent infrastructural works at Comino. The investigation found that construction of a service culvert to the Blue Lagoon was conducted without a planning permit.

In-Nazzjon covers a visit to Farsons Group by PN Leader Bernard Grech ahead of Workers’ Day at the weekend. Grech said that the party’s policies are aimed at protecting workers while encouraging investment.

L-Orizzont says that parishioners in St Paul’s Bay expressed disappointment at the sudden removal of parish priest Fr Josef Pace. A new priest was appointed by the diocese to administer the church ad interim.  

Morning Briefing

Almost 48,000 Maltese are “materially deprived” – survey

More than 80,000 people in Malta cannot afford to face an unexpected financial expense and more than double that number are unable to pay for a one-week holiday away from home, a national annual survey of material deprivation has found.

The 2020 survey found that the rates of both material deprivation rose by 0.3 percentage points over the past year, with 8.7 per cent of Malta’s population – 43,733 people – classified that way.

Roughly one-third said they could not afford to go on a one-week holiday, while around 16.3 per cent said their household was not in a position to weather an unexpected financial expense, which the survey defines at an expense of €740 or more.

Government has highlighted a number of positive elements from the survey. In a statement, it said that the number of materially deprived persons has decreased in the longer run. In total, from 2013 to 2020, they decreased by 25,574 people when the rate was 10.2% at that time.

This means that the number of severely deprived people today is a third of what it was here in 2013, it said. On the other hand, the number of people materially deprived from 2013 to 2020 decreased by 38,520 people. At that time, 19.9% ​​of the population was materially deprived, while in 2020 it fell to 8.7%, a decrease of 12.2%. This is despite a marginal increase of 0.3% between 2019 and 2020, Government added.

MFSA appoints new administrator of Zenith Finance company

The Malta Financial Services Authority has announced the appointmetn of Hector J Spiteri as administrator of the Zenith Finance company to oversee the business operation and safeguard the assets of the company. MFSA stated that the decision was taken following the Court’s decree, when Stephen Paris was appointed to administer Zenith’s operation.

Zenith’s owners, Matthew Pace and Lorraine Falzon, were among eleven persons who were arraigned in Court last month on alleged money laundering charges, among others.

Non-essential shops re-open

Non-essential shops and services reopened after a seven-week shutdown in Malta on Monday as infection rates from the novel coronavirus fell and the Mediterranean island prepares for what it hopes will be a busy tourist season.

Clothes shops, hairdressers, florists and museums reopened as the number of new virus cases dropped to a daily average of 25 from a record 510 on March 10. The positivity rate from tests for the virus is at a low of 1.8%.

The country plans to fully reopen for tourism on June 1 and is holding talks with Britain – its biggest source of tourist arrivals – for seamless travel for those who are vaccinated or can show a negative test result before boarding a plane.

Covid-19 Update
15 new cases were reported on Monday, with 58 patients recovering. This lowers the case tally further, to 422. 1,449 swab tests were taken on Sunday.
No deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours.

CDE News

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