Covid-19 Update: Health authorities reported two new cases of coronavirus on Friday, while five patients recovered. Active cases now stand at 68. 1,817 swab tests were carried out yesterday. Meanwhile, Deputy PM Chris Fearne announced today that the number of attendees permissible for social and cultural activities will start being gradually increased. This means that from 5 July, an activity can be attended by 100 persons, which number will be increased to 150 a fortnight later, and to 200 on 2 August.
Incentive for elderly tourists launched: A new scheme incentivizing elderly tourists has been launched this morning by Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo. Tourists over the age of 65 arriving in Malta during the winter months for a long holiday will receive €100 vouchers to be used in outlets all over the island. This will be applicable if stays of fifteen days or longer are booked. These tourists would individually receive €100 vouchers to spend in any outlets that accept the government vouchers.
HSBC to reduce employee headcount through redundancy schemes: HSBC Malta will be shedding employees through two voluntary redundancy schemes, aimed to “create a leaner working model” that will impact “limited” areas in the bank. The Bank said that it will be improving its operational structure, without specifying the areas to be impacted.
Updated 0900 – Newspaper Review
The Times leads with the approval of the City Centre project by the Planning Authority Board on Thursday. Four members voted in favour and three against while five members recused themselves over potential conflict of interest.
In-Nazzjon publishes a PN statement condemning the last-minute recusal of five members sitting on the Planning Authority Board. The body was due to vote on the development plan of the City Centre project in Pembroke.
L-Orizzont quotes Prime Minister Robert Abela at the launch of a ten-year economic vision that aims to position Malta as a centre of excellence. Abela said the strategy rests on five pillars: quality of life, infrastructure, the environment, education, and good governance.
The Independent reports on the publication of a consultation document by the government on Malta economic priorities in the next decade. Addressing the launch event, Prime Minister Robert Abela stressed the importance of ongoing learning.
In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech who proposed an international intermodal hub for cargo logistics. Visiting the Valletta Cruise Port in Valletta, Grech said that the maritime sector should play a bigger role in Malta’s economy.
The Times quotes an unpublished report by the Auditor General raising questions about an increase in engagement of metre readers by utility company ARMS after it introduced smart metres that do the readings automatically.
L-Orizzont said that the government will announce new protocols allowing vaccinated people to join events from July. Culture Minister Jose Herrera is expected to give out the details today.
The Independent says that the upgraded Menqa area in Marsalforn remains open for vehicular traffic despite promises by the Minister for Gozo that it was going to be pedestrianised when the embellishment project was inaugurated in November.
Updated 0700: Man killed in Marsa
According to media reports, a man died after succumbing to injuries from a stabbing in Marsa. The incident took place in the area of the recently built bridge and on the road connecting Valletta to Marsa and Hamrun, last night. The victim is a 23 year old from Ghana. The suspected aggressor, a 25 year old from Ghana, was arrested from his residence in Marsa.
Economic vision launched: Government has launched a consultation process of Malta’s Economic Vision 2021-2031 focusing on innovation and creativity, the use of digital media for productivity and competitiveness, converting education through skills development with sectoral employment, considerations of environmental issues, and the continued strengthening of the regulatory scope of business.
This was launched during a meeting by Prime Minister Robert Abela and Minister for the Economy and Industry Minister Silvio Schembri in which a number of discussions were held with local stakeholders. Named ‘A Future-proof Malta – a nation of courage, compassion and achievement’, the consultation document is divided into five main pillars which are:
• Sustainable economic growth to improve the quality of life;
• High quality infrastructure and investment;
• Education and employment;
• High standards of accounting, governance, and the rule of law.
dB project approved: The Planning Authority on Thursday approved by four votes to three db Group project in Pembroke. A Number of NGOs and residents had voiced strong opposition to the project, with objectors saying they will appeal. The €250 million project includes 12-storey hotel and two 17- and 18-storey residential towers on the former ITS site.
Covid-19 Update: Four new cases of coronavirus were reported on Thursday, while five persons recovered. Active cases now stand at 67. 2,123 swabs were carried out the day before.