Update 1230 A record 245 new coronavirus cases were reported in Malta on Saturday.
The total of new cases is 2221. There were 69 recoveries. Earlier today, two more deaths were report, with the death toll from Covid19 now is 232.
Updated 1000 – Newspaper Review
L-Orizzont reports that an agreement has been reached between the union of teachers and the government and educators will return to school from Monday. The union had ordered strikes following the rise in Covid-19 cases.
The Times quotes a government statement which said it would give priority to teachers in the Covid-19 vaccination programme while step up contact tracing efforts in schools. The government’s reaction came at the end of negotiations with the teachers’ union.
The Independent reports that active Covid-19 cases have risen to above 2,000 again as 191 new infections were registered on Friday. Eight patients are being treated at the Mater Dei infectious diseases unit while another 13 are in intensive care.
In-Nazzjon quotes the union of teachers which said that the strikes on Thursday and Friday were a ‘great success’. Representatives of the state, independent, and church schools formed a working group that will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation.
L-Orizzont speaks to the family of nine-year-old Zack Mangion who was cleared of cancer after months of treatment at the Mater Dei Rainbow Ward. The child’s father thanked everyone who helped the family along the difficult journey.
The Independent says that the European Medicines Authority approved plans for healthcare professionals to use up to six doses of Covid-19 vaccines from each vial, a move which is expected to speed up the vaccination process across the EU.
The Times says that tourism authority chairman Gavin Gulia and science council chairman Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando are contesting the casual election for the seat vacated by Edward Scicluna. They join former Rabat mayor Charles Azzopardi.
In-Nazzjon publishes a statement by the PN which defended the teachers’ right to strike following criticism by the Education Minister. The party said it is satisfied with the deal reached by the stakeholders on Friday.
UPDATE 0958 – Two persons died of Covid-19 according to news announcement issued by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health.
The death toll in Malta has now reached 232.
On Friday, Malta registered 191 new cases of Covid-19.
Children to return to school on Monday
Government, the MUT and representatives of Church and Independent Schools confirmed that all students will be back in their classrooms on Monday and the teachers’ strike has been called off. This followed a meeting attended by the same organisations, educational authorities as well as Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci.
Government said the existing protocols, including contact tracing, would be enchanced and also pledged to give priority to school staff in its vaccination programme. It also said that re-assurance was given by health authorities that the dispersion of the virus actually decreased with schools open, as families were less likely to take part in other social activities.
Vaccination process gathers pace
After the vaccine for Covid-19 started being administered at St Vincent de Paule last week, the vaccination has now started of the 4,400 elderly people who live in 37 care homes around Malta. In a statement the Government said that together with the elderly residents, the frontliners who work at these homes are also being vaccinated.
At St Vincent around 70 people are being inoculated every day. After three weeks, this will increase to 140 inoculations every day.
The process first began among those who are over 85 and eventually 2000 members of staff will be inoculated, which includes those at state-run homes, those run by the church and those which are privately owned.
Health authorities reported 191 new cases of coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, resulting from 3,639 swab tests. The number of active cases has gone up to 2047 after 77 persons recovered. Malta’s death toll stands at 230 after two persons died in the past 24 hours.
Malta Further and Higher Education Authority setup
The government has announced the setting up the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority, as an independent entity that will ensure the highest education standards are maintained. Education Minister Justyne Caruana said the government is committed to ensure quality education.
“We are committed to providing access to quality education for all. This is a point which I don’t mind stressing – inclusive education is a fundamental right of every boy and girl. “Thanks to this authority, we hope to build a community where everyone feels valued and accepted,” Caruana explained.