100,000 persons are now fully vaccinated – Gauci / Malta News Briefing – Friday 23 April 2021

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Latest Update- News Portal Briefing

Times of Malta reports that a man linked to a spate of thefts targeting cars parked outside owners’ homes, was remanded in custody on Friday, while his co-accused pleaded guilty and was handed a suspended sentence. 

MaltaToday reports that a survey found Maltese were among those most likely to have witnessed online misinformation as well as political intimidation

TVM reports that four persons have been evacuated following a fire in a laboratory.

Newsbook reports that the Opposition said it is not true that funds generated through the cash-for-passports scheme were used during the pandemic.

Update 1300

Covid-19 Update: 33 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Friday, while one patient a 93 year old woman, died. The number of active cases is now 513 after 38 persons recovered. The death toll now stands at 412.

During her weekly briefing, Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci, said that more than 300,000 vaccine doses had been administered so far, with almost one-third being second doses, meaning 100,000 fully vaccinated persons.

No vaccine for pregnant women: Pregnant women in Malta are still not offered the COVID-19 vaccine, despite studies abroad indicating it is safe for them to take.  This was confirmed by Health Minister Chris Fearne.

PN lambasts Govt on passport revelations: Media stories exposing the manner the passport sales’ scheme is administered showed Malta is no longer considered a serious country that can properly administer such schemes, the PN said.

It was reacting to a number of stories that revealed how applicants for Maltese passports circumvent legal requirements, often abetted by government officials.

Newspaper Review

L-Orizzont leads with the inauguration of a Support Agency for Victims of Criminality by Interior Minister Byron Camilleri. The body will provide a care plan that includes psychological therapy for crime victims.

The Independent says that the two companies which announced a fast ferry service between Malta and Gozo from June are still structuring their prices and cannot yet say whether they will adopt different fare categories.

In-Nazzjon follows an interview with PN Leader Bernard Grech who said that the determination of people joining the party makes up for what it lacks in financial resources to communicate its message.

The Times reports that the family of late gunner Matthew Psaila was awarded €175,000 in compensation after a court ruled that the Armed Forces was largely to blame for the 19-year-old’s death during a demanding training exercise twelve years ago.

The Independent follows a trail of leaked emails linked to the IIP scheme showing that most of the passport buyers went for the cheapest option of renting property for about €1,400 monthly to satisfy the residency obligations of the programme.

The Times says that golden passport concessionaire Henley & Partners hired lawyer Adrian Camilleri to follow developments about a possible citizenship-by-investments scheme in Malta months before the government made a formal public call in 2013.

In-Nazzjon quotes Opposition spokesperson for citizenship, Beppe Fenech Adami, who demanded steps by Prime Minister Robert Abela against the architects of the IIP scheme within the Labour Party.

L-Orizzont quotes Minister for Inclusion Julia Farrugia Portelli who said that a “national effort” is needed to elevate the wellbeing of every member of society. The minister announced works on various residential homes within communities.

Morning Briefing

Florinda Sultana and Albert Buttigieg charged with fraud and money laundering

The court has found prima facie evidence for Florinda Sultana and Albert Buttigieg to be placed under a bill of indictment and charged with fraud and money laundering.

The proceedings had began last week after investigations on their involvement running of two fish restaurants, one in Valletta and another in Marsaxlokk in connection with money laundering and oil smuggling.

Police investigate fake Covid tests

Police have launched an investigation into fake Covid-19 tests being sold to people traveling back home
A report on the national broadcaster has shown how a number of cases have been found where individuals have amended old certificates and there are also criminal circles who are selling these certificates.

TVM said that over the past months, the Police have brought several people to court on these charges with the last one being 26-year-old Euredice Annelatt Olijfveld who yesterday pleaded guilty to attempting to leave Malta by means of false certificate of Covid -19. The Dutchwoman was apprehended by officials at Malta International Airport earlier today and it turns out that she bought this certificate in an attempt to return to the Netherlands.

Covid-19 Update
Covid-19 cases reached 33 on Thursday, with 36 new recoveries. The number of active cases has gone down to 519. A total of 2,129 swab tests were taken the day before. No new deaths were registered