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Latest Updates – Malta News Briefing – Monday 11 January 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Updated 1745- News Portal

Times of Malta reports that there was Public health fury after COVID-19 coordinator Kenneth Grech is removed

MaltaToday reports that speaker Anġlu Farrugia says law setting up Standards Commissioner makes no reference to former MPs, ruling out parliamentary probe on Joseph Muscat’s ethics breach when prime minister

Newsbook reports that residents are seeking public support against a ‘mega’ development being proposed in Nadur.

TVM reports that the Court of Criminal Appeal, presided by Madame Justice Edwina Grima, overturned a seven-year imprisonment sentence into a probation for Matthew Portelli.

Updated 1233 – 133 new cases of coronavirus

133 new cases of coronavirus were reported this afternoon by health authorities, identified from 3355 swab tests. This takes up the tally of active cases to 2,360. The death tally stands at 233.

Updated 1115 – Imports, exports decrease

As expected during a year dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, the level of imports and exports decreased substantially in 2020, NSO figures showed.

Both imports and exports decreased by €2,103.2 million and €525.0 million respectively. Lower imports were mainly recorded in machinery and transport equipment (€1,290.1 million) and mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (€592.4 million). On the exports side, mineral fuels, lubricants and related materials (€403.4 million) and machinery and transport equipment (€88.9 million) accounted for the main decreases
Imports from the European Union reached €2,559.9 million, or 52.7 per cent of total imports. There was a decrease of €514.0 million in imports from euro area countries when compared to the same period in 2019.

The main increase and decrease in imports were registered from China (€103.1 million) and the United Kingdom (€977.0 million) respectively.

With respect to exports, the main increase was directed to India (€5.4 million), whereas Italy registered the highest decrease (€129.4 million).

During the first eleven months of 2020, the trade deficit narrowed by €1,578.4 million when compared to the corresponding period of 2019, reaching €2,003.6 million.

Updated 0830 – Newspaper Review

The Times reports that the latest Electrogas financial filings by PwC flag ‘material uncertainty’ following a company review conducted by an international law firm. The document says that the conclusions were based on limited responses by parties involved.

The Independent speaks with Mental Health Commissioner John Cachia who said that special measures are required during the pandemic. to safeguard the mental wellbeing of elderly people in residential homes.

L-Orizzont publishes an interview with a separated man who says that the festive period is an especially difficult time for those who, like him, suffer from solitude. He warns that the rate of broken marriages is multiplying the problem of loneliness.

In-Nazzjon quotes survey findings by Malta Today which show a five percentage point increase in support for the PN, the highest since 2017. The party registered the strongest approval among the 16-35 age group.

L-Orizzont reports on the preliminary hearings involving former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini in a Palermo court on Saturday. Salvini is being charged with abuse of power for ordering the closure of ports for immigrants.

The Independent says that that parliament will debate a bill proposing a mechanism to balance gender representation in the House when it reconvenes after the Christmas recess. The bill sets a minimum of 40 percent representation for any gender.

The Times speaks to family doctor Joseph Ferriggi about his recovery from Covid-19 after the virus had attacked 60 percent of his lungs and cut his oxygen levels by half. Reflecting on the experience, Dr Ferriggi says that the pandemic will change people’s attitudes to life.         

In-Nazzjon criticises Prime Minister Robert Abela for urging people to attend a political event by the Labour Party held at a hotel, at a time when Covid-19 cases are surging. The report calls for caution during the pandemic.

Updated 0755 – MAM condemns “reckless decisions”, removal of public health consultant who raised concerns on schools

The Medical Association of Malta has condemned the removal of the public health consultant responsible for co-ordination public health response to Covid who recommended caution on the consequences re-opening for the schools.

In a statement, doctors said that its council will convene on Monday evening to evaluate the situation and decide its reaction to this episode of intimidation.

The Association expressed it disappointment that “the reckless mistakes due to decisions taken by politicians based on short sided populism rather than the advice of medical experts have led to current situation.”

It also said that regular flights to the UK have remained operational despite claims to be contrary. MAM is aware that a number of positive cases of people arriving the UK. Analysis for variants is awaited.

Doctors insisted that with numbers above 100 a day, there is a strong risk that Mater Dei intensive care unit and Medical wards may not be able to cope with patients. and that measures are necessary to bring down the numbers.

Morning Briefing

Moderna vaccine in Malta

The first consignment of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Malta early this morning.

This was announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne late on Sunday as he thanked Air Malta, for the service. The plane carrying the vaccine is expected to land in Malta just after midnight.

During Sunday’s political event, the Deputy PM said said the government worked tirelessly to acquire enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, adding that Malta would be the first EU country to receive the Moderna vaccine. The latter vaccine was only approved by the European Medicines Agency last week.

Malta registered 184 new coronavirus cases overnight, the health authorities announced on Sunday. 82 individuals have recovered. 2,322 cases remain active. To date, the pandemic has claimed 233 lives.

No early election until manifesto is implemented – PM Abela

The Prime Minister promised more work by the current administration and dismissed rumours that the country may be asked to vote in an early general election. Dr Abela stressed that before the entire 2017 electoral manifesto was carried out a general election will not be called.

He said that this time last year, when he was appointed Prime Minister, he had promised to address issues regarding the rule of law and immigration, and despite Malta going through a pandemic the Government carried out unprecedented reforms, among them in the Police corps. He said that these changes, which some had described as impossible, were not only carried through but were even praised by the international agency DBRS, which yesterday certified Malta as “A high”. Dr Abela said that this certificate was given by the same agency which had recently reduced the rating of giant countries such as France.

More changes on the cards for the PN- Grech
Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said that major changes are on the cards for the Nationalist Party, changes which will be directed at bringing fresher ideas to the party. On the shadow cabinet, which Grech has not yet appointed, the Opposition leader explained that he had gathered reports from a number of deputies, and there will be changes and fine tuning as necessary.

Referring to the public opinion survey published in Malta Today, which showed that the PN had made some inroads on Labour, Dr Grech said the figures are encouraging for the Nationalist Party, insisting that this was no point of arrival but had shown that the Nationalist Party is making advances and he is confident the Maltese people are sending a message that they do not want politicians who take them for a ride.

CDE News

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