Updated 1745 News Portal Update
Times of Malta reports that the PN will not take action against Simon Busuttil over Egrant
MaltaToday reports that UHM ordered industrial action against workers
Newsbook reports that Covid-19 cases are on the rise
TVM reports that romance fraud cases are on the rise
News portal update 1245 – Covid-19 Update
There were 154 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, health authorities said. The 3,282 swab tests taken on Thursday also identified 148 recoveries, with the number of active cases now edging up to 2,435.
Just under 60,000 persons were vaccinated by Thursday, a third of which were second doses.
In her weekly briefing, Prof Charmaine Gauci said that the average age of cases identified last week stood at around 39, with family and social activities being the principal cause of transmission of the virus.
Updated 1200 – PN decides to withdraw action against Busuttil on Egrant affair
The PN’s administrative council has decided against taking any action with regard to former PN leader Simon Busuttil over the Egrant affair. In a moved described as symbolic, PN leader Bernard Grech proposed that any action against Busuttil be formally ruled out, a proposal the council agreed with.
The matter dates back to Adrian Delia’s leadership stint, with the former leader trying to force the exclusion of Busuttil after the latter repeated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s allegations linking former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s wife Michelle to the Panama company Egrant.
Health workers in industrial action
Over 1,300 workers are taking part in industrial action ordered by UHM, the union said today.
Health professionals, emergency ambulance responders and Steward Health Care employees are only performing duties in relation to Covid-19, emergencies and cancer patients. This industrial action is taking place due to ‘inadequate action’ by the government over agreements reached months ago, the union said in a statement.
Updated 0840 – Newspaper Review
The Times says that the developers’ association is looking to appoint a representative on the board of the proposed Building and Construction Authority, leading environmentalists to raise concerns about possible conflict of interest.
The Independent quotes Prime Minister Robert Abela who said that the government will take a cautious approach to reverse Covid-19 measures. He signalled that safety precautions will likely remain in place in March.
L-Orizzont speaks with Parliamentary Secretary for Housing Roderick Galdes who said that the government is considering different solutions to address issues surrounding the pre-1995 rentals policy.
In-Nazzjon leads with the announcement of a new energy policy by the PN on Thursday. The party said its proposals would reduce prices, increase incentives for cleaner energy, and generate more green jobs.
The Independent covers a PN presentation on a new vision for energy based on six areas of development ranging from cheaper supply and electrification of transport to the construction of hydrogen-ready infrastructure.
L-Orizzont reports that the government will present a white paper on the cultivation of cannabis at home. Announcing the proposals, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that new legislation would raise the maximum limit permitted for personal use.
The Times quotes study findings by an EU agency showing that only one in ten Maltese people would intervene to help a victim of intimate-partner violence, the lowest rate in Europe where the average stands at nearly 20 percent.
L-Orizzont reports on a study by Unicef among children fleeing their countries in Africa. The extensive research surveyed over 1,600 minors from four different countries and is expected to be published in the next months.
Maltese businesses positive about recovery, cautious on cashflow
Half of Maltese businesses are expecting positive change in the first six months of this year while a further 34% believing it will take 12. Entrepreneurs are generally cautious about their cash flow situation and will refrain from significant investment and recruitment initially until profitability follows revenue growth. This index is a proven trend predictor and in other countries, an early indicator of upcoming economic change.
These were the key conclusions of a survey conducted on behalf of the Malta Chamber, with businesses noting that they are cautious about their cash flow situation and will refrain from significant investment and recruitment initially until profitability follows revenue growth. This index is a proven trend predictor and in other countries, an early indicator of upcoming economic change.”
Malta Chamber president David Xuereb said the CEOs and business owners’ views are crucial, especially as the business community plans for the future while trying to “swim through the COVID-19 experience”.
Wage supplement to be extended
PM Robert Abela said today that Government is planning to extend the COVID-19 wage supplement beyond March and will be consulting with social partners accordingly. The Scheme has already been extended a number of times. Until last year, it was paid out indiscriminately to certain business categories, before eventually being reformed to reflect losses suffered by businesses as a result of the pandemic.
Abela argued that now that the country was on the path to economic recovery, it would not make sense to withdraw support to enterprise.
New Midi plan for Manoel Island
MIDI has presented a new masterplan to the Planning Authority for the development and restoration of Manoel Island. In the new plan, MIDI has discarded the original proposal to reclaim land on the sea area immediately in front of the Gzira promenade, whilst public spaces will be increased. The project’s height will also be decreased, with development covering 10% of the land.
In this project, Midi said it will invest over 200 million euro.
The Authority’s Board last week suspended all works on the Manoel Island project. MIDI Chief Executive Mark Portelli stated that the need for changes to the masterplan resulted during a process of investigation under the supervision of an independent archaeologist approved by the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, and the project will include the archaeological remains discovered on site.
The Health Department reported 163 new cases of coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, with 156 recovering. The number of active cases has reached 2,429. 3,209 swab tests were
carried out in the past 24 hours. Meanwhile, the number of deaths linked to Covid-19 has reached 301.