Covid-19: 62 and 65-year-old men become latest fatalities: Malta News Briefing – Saturday 3 April 2021

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Update – Covid-19 situation

62 new cases of coronavirus were reported by health authorities on Saturday, with 114 recovering.

These numbers represent a slight increase over the past few days, but still lead to a decline in the number of active cases, which now stand at 633.

Meanwhile, two men of a relatively young age (65 and 62) passed away, taking the fatalities to 397.

Updated 1023

NGO Alarm Phone said that the situation of the ~270 people at sea is still critical. On Twitter, this morning, the organisation alleged that @Armed_Forces_MT & @guardiacostiera refuse to provide assistance or to coordinate rescue by merchant vessels.

Newspaper Review

The Times says that every person eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine should get at least the first jab by the first week of June with the country on track to achieve 70 percent immunity by the end of summer.

The Independent quotes a statement by the Chamber of Pharmacists demanding that the Health Minister retract “insulting” comments he made declaring that pharmacists will not be involved in the distribution of the vaccine.

L-Orizzont reports that more than 200,000 people have been inoculated with the Covdi-19 vaccine while around 55,000 have received both doses. Malta has the highest vaccination rate in the EU.

In-Nazzjon says that Oasi Foundation, Caritas Malta, and the Association of Psychiatrists expressed concerns about the proposals included in the government’s White Paper on reforming laws about the use of cannabis.

The Independent speaks to a UN refugee agency spokesperson who said that Malta has the obligation to provide access to the asylum procedure to people rescued at sea, pointing out that the EU has to show “predictable solidarity” with the country.

The Times reports that the middlemen reselling farmers’ produce at the pitkalija have had their licenses withdrawn, causing uncertainty among agricultural workers. A representative of the middlemen said farmers will likely have to sell crops themselves.

In-Nazzjon reports the death of an 82-year-old man from Covid-19 on Friday, raising total fatalities to 395 since the beginning of the pandemic. Active cases, meanwhile, are on the decrease as the number of patients dropped to 687.

L-Orizzont publishes an interview with a recovered Covid-19 patient who described his experience after a month of battling the virus. The man said that beating the disease felt like a second birth. 

Morning Briefing

Migrants appeal to AFM for help, Archbishop joins call for intervention

Some 270 people are on the high seas around Malta, according to NGO Alarm Phone.

The organisation said that 60 persons on a boat have been calling for help for two nights after the engine of their boat stopped working properly and they have ran out of food and water. It is understood that the boat left Libya last Tuesday.

“People are sick and exhausted and need urgent rescue to a place of safety. Armed Forces of Malta do your duty,” Alarm Phone tweeted. The NGO added that the “so-called Maltese coastguard refuse to confirm that they take responsibility”, adding that calls are not answered.

The Archbishop also intervened during his Good Friday homily calling for help: “Our brothers are drowning in the Mediterranean. Will we save them today, Good Friday? Will we let them drown or rescue them but return them to suffering, to humiliation, to perhaps be sold as slaves too? What decisions will we make,” the Archbishop said.

Twitter News Blog Civil Fleet tweeted in the evening that two passing merchant ships fail to help the castaways and abandon them to face the night alone.

Investigation launched into airport accident
The Bureau of Air Accident Investigation is investigating an accident at Malta International Airport involving a towed aircraft and caused the diversion of two passenger planes headed to Malta.

A Malta International Airport spokesperson said the accident happened at 11.29am. Media sources reported that a Ryanair aircraft was being towed when it detached from the tow truck and crashed into fuel bowsers, causing a leak.

Covid-19 Update
42 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Good Friday. Recoveries remained high, at 94, taking the active case tally further down to 687. So far, 55,897 persons have received both doses of the vaccination against the virus, while a total of 203,553 doses have been administered in all.

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