Health authorities reported 37 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, with 49 recovering. These were identified through 2,243 swab tests. The active case tally has now gone down to 536.
Meanwhile, a 96-year-old woman became the 402nd fatality since the onset of the pandemic.
Fearne pledges immunity by June
Health Minister Chris Fearne announced a new system for COVID-19 vaccination, with health authorities pledging to offer a first jab to everyone in the country by mid-August. Individuals will be required to register using an SMS or through the Internet, with over 50s currently being the only age group eligible for appointments.
Fearne said that it is now projected that the country will reach the herd immunity by the end of June. So far, the number of Covid-19 doses administered in Malta will reach 240,000.
The Independent says that health authorities have confirmed two recent cases of blood clots, but Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said that there was no link with the Covid-19 vaccinations.
L-Orizzont quotes Public Health Superintendent Charmain Gauci who said that health authorities received a total 119 reports of side-effects from vaccinations. The main effects were slight fever and tiredness.
The Times reports the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 99, announced by Queen Elizabeth on Friday. President George Vella expressed deepest sympathy with the Royal Family on behalf of the people in Malta.
In-Nazzjon says that Prince Philip, who died at Windsor Castle on Friday, had “close ties” with Malta where he lived with the young Princess Elizabeth between 1949 and 1951. The Duke of Edinburgh visited the islands frequently in the following years.
The Independent reports that Standards Commissioner George Hyzler dismissed complaints by government MPs Glenn Bedingfield and Edward Zammit Lewis that a report by his office had been leaked to the media.
In-Nazzjon says that House Speaker Angelo Farrugia cancelled a meeting of the parliamentary committee for standards after the members from the government side failed to show up. The committee is chaired by the Speaker.
The Times says that Ħamrun Spartans were yesterday declared the winners of the 2020-21 Premier League by the Football Association, claiming the trophy for the first time in 30 years. Supporters drove around the main roads of Ħamrun in celebration.
L-Orizzont reports on a decision by the European Courts of Human Rights on Friday which declared that obligatory vaccination does not breach human rights. The ruling was reached following complaints by families in the Czech Republic objecting to vaccination of children.
Man claims wife died of blood clot after AZ vaccine
Health Minister Chris Fearne has requested medical authorities to look into claims that a woman, described by her husband as healthy, died from a blood clot after receiving the AstraZenica vaccine. It has been reported that the couple received their vaccine on March 13.
The woman passed away on Easter Sunday. Earlier on Friday, Health Superintendent revealed that there were 119 reports of side effects related to the administration of vaccines, 77 of which related to Pfizer, but made no reference to any serious complications. She did however refer that the Medicines Authority had received two reports of blood clots after one person had been given the Pfizer vaccine and another person the AstraZeneca vaccine
Tourists to get financial impetus to visit Malta
Government announced that tourists booking summer holidays to Malta directly through local hotels will receive a financial token to encourage tourism this Summer. In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Bartolo said that the Malta Tourism Authority had been allocated €3.5million for the scheme that will impact some 35,000 tourists travelling to the island from June.
The amount varies according to the star-certification of hotels, with those staying at five-star accomodation getting 100 euros, 75 euro for a four star and 50 euro for a three star. The handout will then be matched by each hotel meaning tourists will get double that amount.
The decision was welcomed by the MHRA.
Jason Azzopardi implies Carmelo Abela in HSBC heist
PN MP Jason Azzopardi made a startling accusation on Facebook pointing his fingers at Labour minister Carmelo Abela of being the government minister who allegedly aided the suspects in the 2010 HSBC robbery. Azzopardi was reacting to a jibes made by the same Abela on Azzopardi’s ill-fated visit to the Holy Land.
“I am no saint… but better not to have been an accomplice in the HSBC hold-up,” Azzopardi said. He also alleged that Abela was promised a cut of €300,000 from the heist.
New coronavirus cases reported on Friday reached 48, with 53 new recoveries. This lowers the active case tally to 549. The infections were reported from 2,049 swabs. No deaths were registered in the past 24 hours.