4 new coronavirus cases, 7 recoveries in Malta – Malta News Briefing – Saturday 15 May 2021

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Update 1504

Opposition MP Toni Bezzina has been cleared by a police investigation into alleged corruption dating back to 2012.  Bezzina, the Nationalist Party transportation shadow minister, was informed by police on Saturday that after some four weeks of investigations, the police had decided there was no case against him. Times of Malta

Updated 1235

Covid-19 Update: Four new cases were reported on Saturday, while seven patients recovered, reducing the total number of active cases in the country down to 177. No new deaths were reported.

UK green list unlikely to be modified soon: Malta’s tourism prospects were dealt a blow with UK PM Boris Johnson saying that it was unlikely any countries would be added soon to the green list due to concerns over the spread of an Indian variant of virus.
Johnson argued that: “there’s a very limited list, as you know, and we will certainly be making sure that people travelling abroad will be subject to all the tests and constraints to prevent the virus being reimported. That’s why it’s such a tiny list of countries and I don’t expect we will be adding to it very rapidly,” Johnson explained.

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo had in the past few days expressed confidence of making it in the green list at an early stage.

ADPD says abortion should be legal in three situations: ADPD said that it wants abortion legalised when a woman’s life is in danger, when a pregnancy is the result of violence, such as rape or incest, and when a pregnancy is not viable. It insisted that women should not go to prison for having an abortion and the procedure should be permitted in three “specific and extraordinary” scenario.

In a resolution the Greens’ executive committee came out in favour of decriminalising abortion for any women involved, but said that medical professionals who assist in the procedure should still be subject to criminal charges.

Cannabis manufacturing firm invests in Malta: Zenabis has announced that its Maltese joint venture, ZenPharm Limited, has received its Medicinal Cannabis License from the Maltese regulatory authorities.

The receipt of the Medicinal Cannabis License follows on the earlier European Union Good Manufacturing Practices certification issued by Malta Medicines Authority in January 2021. ZenPharm has an executed supply agreement with a German-based customer to supply a minimum volume of 500 kg per year. To that end, ZenPharm will be accepting shipments of up to 300kg from Zenabis Atholville through the end of this calendar year.

ZenPharm will also be launching finished cannabis products under its own brand for distribution within the Maltese medicinal cannabis market, with similar entry into the Polish market expected in the Q1 2022.

Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli said: “This announcement is another milestone in the establishment of Malta’s Medical Cannabis industry. This Government had the vision to establish this emerging vertical as a new economic niche for Malta. The initial enabling legislation has led to the attraction of a number of companies that are now being issued with a production license following a thorough inspection by the Malta Medicines Authority.”

Updated 0900 – Newspaper Review

L-Orizzont says that the population in Malta reached 514,564, an increase of 24 per cent over a decade. Figures by the National Statistics Office show that the share of non-Maltese residents grew from five per cent to 20 per cent in this period.

The Times says that the Labour Party will likely propose a national consultation on the decriminalisation of abortion, but the motion presented in parliament does not have the support of the party’s parliamentary group.

The Independent reportsthat it is not clear whether the House Business Committee in parliament will proceed with the Private Members’ Bill to decriminalise abortion tabled by independent MP Marlene Farrugia this week.

In-Nazzjon says that a statement by the Labour Party declaring that Prime Minister Robert Abela opposes abortion does not clarify the party’s position. Cabinet ministers questioned by the paper did not give a direct answer on the matter.

The Times quotes Chamber of SMEs CEO Abigail Mamo who warned that instability in the shipping industry is raising costs across the board, leading to a sharp rise in consumer prices. Mamo said that container costs have shot up more than threefold.

The Independent quotes Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci who said that herd immunity from the Covid-19 virus is expected to be reached within days, adding that people are still bound to follow safety measures for the time being.

L-Orizzont reports that only one new case of Covid-19 was registered on Friday, the lowest count in ten months. No cases were reported at elderly residencies for the second consecutive week. 

Morning Briefing

Denmark places Malta on safe travel list

After the disappointment of being left out from the UK green list, Malta has become the first country to be placed on Denmark’s yellow list for travel category, meaning Danish tourists can visit Malta, with no quarantine or isolation requirement as they get back home.

So far, Denmark advises against non-essential travel to all other countries.

Denmark was the second country after Germany to remove Malta from the list of countries considered at risk. Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo welcomed the news saying it was the fruit of a strong vaccination rollout complimented with restrictive measures aimed at being eased in a gradual manner was “the main ingredients behind this sterling news.

PL wants mature discussion on abortion

The Labour Party said that the Prime Minister had already expressed his clear opinion on the issue, this being against the legalisation of abortion.
It added that the discussion on the motion presented by Opposition MP Marlene Farrugia on Wednesday on a sensitive subject like abortion should take place in society in a mature and free manner, rather than being stifled in a motion like this one.

It was pointed out in a statement at the end of a meeting of the Labour Parliamentary Group that the discussion should not be monopolised by the political parties in Parliament, but rather, should be based on honesty, respect towards different opinions, lacking in sensationalism or condemnation and against the stigma.

Covid-19 Update

Only one person tested positive for COVID during the past 24 hours. The last time this reported was in the month of July, last year. This case was identified through 2,017 tests. With ten people recovering, the active case tally has now gone down to 180. No new deaths were reported.

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