Update 1245 -Covid-19 Update
56 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday, with 73 recovering. These numbers were identified through 1,946 swabs. Active cases have gone down to 531. A total of 215,700 vaccine doses have been administered, with 59,032 of those being second doses. A 55-year-old became the 399th victim of the virus.
Unions disagree on Return to school
The Union of Professional Educators said that it would have no objection for students to return physically to school on Monday, but the MUT insisted that the physical reopening of schools should not be one of the first COVID-19 measures to be relaxed.
The MUT called for a “prudent” plan and not one that returned educators, students and their families to the situation they were in a few weeks ago.
Speaking to The Malta Independent, UPE CEO Graham Sansone said that “with numbers at a steady, much lower, number every day, he would give the green light to open schools.”
Updated 0830 – Newspaper Review
The Times reveals that the police Counter Terrorist Unit is investigating bitcoin transactions by Yorgen Fenech. The businessman is believed to have traded on a dark web marketplace selling illegal drugs and weapons.
The Independent speaks with the president of the Union of Professional Educators, Graham Sansone, who declared his support for the reopening of schools on April 11. Sansone said that the spike in Covid-19 cases has now subsided.
L-Orizzont quotes Health Minister Chris Fearne who said that the government will soon begin to ease Covid-19 measures. The minister noted that four in every ten adults have been given at least one dose of the vaccine.
In-Nazzjon says that former chief of staff Keith Schembri is expected back in the courts today as a decision will be made on whether there is prima facie evidence against charges brought against him.
The Independent quotes President George Vella who called for national responsibility and solidarity especially during the pandemic. The President marked his second year in office on Easter day.
The Times reports on a decision by a family court annulling the marriage between two total strangers. The couple, a Maltese woman and a foreign man, for the first time at the Marriage Registry in 2002 when the wife was going through a drug problem.
In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech who in a recorded Easter message said the honest must take the country back from the few dishonest people. Grech appealed for political maturity beyond partisan sentiment.
L-Orizzont publishes an interview with social work volunteer Angele Camilleri who said that she receives some 500 requests for help every day. Camilleri said that pleas for financial help and food have increased since the start of the pandemic.
President Vella appeals again for national unity
President George Vella reaffirmed his worries about the threat of widespread construction in his Easter message. Yesterday also marked his second anniversary as the country’s President. In his address, Vella tackled a number of topical issues such as migration, environmental degradation and the turbulent political climate.
Vella called for stricter controls on the protection of the environment around us, in particular the threat of widespread construction.”
The President described his first two years in the role as “very trying”, explaining that “during these two years the political challenges have continued unabated, which required my intervention as the Constitution allows, and which led to the appointment of a new Prime Minister and new Opposition Leader. Those were delicate moments that required my prudence and thoroughness. Moments that also created impassioned discussions on a national scale on what the powers of the Presidency can and should be.”
PN leader appeals for caution to defeat pandemic
Opposition Leader Bernard Grech appealed to the people to exercise caution and follow the health authorities’ directives to ensure that as a country, the pandemic is defeated. In an Easter message delivered on the PN’s channels, Dr Grech spoke about his vision for the country, saying there was a need for the country not to remain dominated by a few, but rather, to be handed back to those who work with skill.
He appealed to the people to continue exercising caution so that the country will emerge from the pandemic as quickly as possible. The PN leader stated that the pandemic had slipped from the control of the leaders, adding that through prudence we are able to overcome this challenge.
He added that there is presently a need for normality in the country, even detached from the pandemic, adding that the people no longer want to listen to stories that shame them on a daily basis whilst threatening Malta’s reputation. The Nationalist Leader further stated that he wants politics to be freed from the few who think only of themselves, and who through their behaviour are endangering not just Malta’s name but also the livelihood of many Maltese.
A total of 34 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Easter Sunday, the lowest number of cases for over six months. Meanwhile, a 72-year-old man became the 398th fatality of the virus. With 117 persons recovering, active cases have now declined to 549.