15 Covid-19 cases, 58 recoveries: health authorities / Malta News Briefing – Monday 26 April 2021

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Update 1300

Covid 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 past 24 hours.

Degiorgio brothers in second pardon request: George and Alfred Degiorgio, the brothers who stand accused of involvement in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, have sent another letter to President George Vella, making a second request for a pardon.

“That the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is revealed and all those involved are brought to justice” does not only interest the Degiorgios’ but is “everybody’s interest,” the brothers argued.

Last Monday, Cabinet had recommended the refusal of an earlier pardon request.

One third of travellers fail to produce negative Covid test: Almost one third of those travelling to Malta do not present a negative COVID-19 certificate despite this being mandatory, Times of Malta revealed. In a report published this morning, it revealed that travellers coming from the so-called amber list must produce a negative swab test taken up to 72 hours before travel.

Despite this, about 30 per cent of travellers come to the island without the negative swab test result. These travellers are then tested upon arrival. The test is carried out by healthcare workers at ports for free.

Newspaper Review

The Times leads with the reopening of non-essential shops from today after seven weeks of shutdown. People can gather in public in groups of four, up from a limit of two, while a maximum of four households are now allowed to meet in private residences.   

L-Orizzont announces easing of a number of restrictions from May 10 including training and contact sports. Open markets will also be allowed to reopen and the ban on travel to Gozo will be lifted.

The Independent says that from May 10 restaurants and snack bars will be allowed to serve customers at the table until 5:00pm, after which they may continue offering take away and delivery service. A maximum of four people are allowed at each table.

In-Nazzjon quotes a statement by the hotels and restaurants association demanding that catering establishments are allowed to serve dinner when they reopen on May 10. The association said that opening until late afternoon will not be enough.

The Independent quotes Constitutional law professor Kevin Aquilina who argues that the Commissioner of Standards in Public Life should be empowered to table reports in parliament directly, and not to the Standing Committee.

The Times says an overhaul of the judicial process is likely to be presented to Cabinet in the summer. The new system is expected to reform the compilation of evidence to shorten proceeding in criminal cases.

In-Nazzjon follows an interview with PN Leader Bernard Grech who said that politicians are elected to protect workers and investors, not their friends. He appealed for seriousness in politics to build a better country.

L-Orizzont speaks with the crew aboard the SOS Mediterranee that was involved in the search for 172 missing migrants in recent days. A member said that they feel angry and frustrated by the lack of coordination by EU states. 

Morning Briefing

Easing of restrictions announced

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced the next steps in Malta’s return to normality, with a series of measures including the resumption of sports and extracurricular activities, and the partial opening of restaurants to the public. Meanwhile, non-essential shops and services reopen today while groups of up to four people are allowed in public again.

As from 10 May:

Professional contact sports can resume training
All non-contact sports can be carried out without spectators
Extracurricular activities, catechism lessons will resume
Open markets will be able to take place
Restaurants and snack bars can open until 5pm, with maximum four people at each table. After 5pm, those restaurants and snack bars will still be able to offer food delivery and takeaway services.
Removal of travel restrictions between Malta and Gozo

PM Abela said that government will be issuing state-funded vouchers in the coming weeks, so as to boost the economy.

Restaurants unhappy – MHRA

The reopening conditions will not be of much help for the majority of restaurants to ensure sustainable operations of their business,” the MHRA said.

MHRA President Tony Zahra in a reaction said: “it’s positive that we now have a date for the re-opening of restaurants but opening only for lunch does not make business sense for the majority of restaurants. Many restaurants will continue to remain under a lot of pressure and our appeal to government is to allow restaurants to serve dinner too whilst ensuring proper enforcement measures to guarantee that rules are abided for by all.”

PN won’t negotiate with hackers

The Nationalist Party will not negotiate with hackers threatening to publish stolen documents belonging to the party, Bernard Grech said on Sunday. During Sunday’s interview, Grech weighed in on his plan to weed out those within the PN who do not toe the party line. He said he would not exclude that there could be some PN MPs who would not be allowed to contest the next general election with the party if they persisted in acting outside the party rank and file. Grech said the electorate was showing the PN that it needed an attitude change and if some within the PN did not understand this, then he would take the necessary steps to ensure they did not harm the PN’s chances at the polls.

Covid-19 Update

25 new Covid cases were reported on Sunday, with 35 recoveries. This means active cases are now at 465.

A 67-year-old person has died while diagnosed with Covid. The number of vaccinations has reached 311,559, with 99,574 being second jabs. 

CDE News