66 new cases and 44 recoveries reported Malta News Briefing – Sunday 11 April 2021

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Covid19 Update

Malta’s health authorities have reported 66 new coronavirus cases. There were 44 recoveries.

Political Speech by PM Abela

A summer of tourism will be crucial for Malta’s economic recovery, and in turn a cautious reopening will be necessary to allow this, Prime Minister Robert Abela warned. During an interview on the Labour Party-owned TV station ONE, Abela admitted that the economy could face serious problems if Malta loses out on another summer of tourist activity. He explained that by focusing on three priority areas during the relaxation of COVID-19 preventive measures, Malta will be en route to have a summer of increased tourism and overall economic activity. Those three priority areas are the health sector, education, and the elderly. – MaltaToday

Archbishop Emeritus Cremona hospitalised

Archbishop Emeritus Paul Cremona has been hospitalised. This emerged on Sunday when Archbishop Charles Scicluna offered prayers for Mgr Cremona.  In a statement the Archbishop’s Curia said Mgr Cremona underwent a minor cardiac surgery on Saturday. He is in a good medical state, the Curia statement reads. Newsbook.com.mt

Morning Briefing

Malta Today says that on the eve of his testimony in court, former Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar spent 15 minutes on the phone with Edwin Brincat, a confidant of state witness Melvin Theuma.

The Sunday Times reveals that a photo of parts of the Caruana Galizia investigation report was found on Yorgen Fenech’s phone. The piece of intelligence detailed names of the suspects involved in the organising the car bomb.  

The Independent on Sunday speaks to police immigration unit chief Lara Butters cases of people trying to leave the country using a fake Covid-19 swab test. The inspector said that 18 people have been caught with illegitimate certificates so far.

Illum says that seven in every ten flight connections available before the pandemic will be operating this summer. Meanwhile, FlyDubai, LOT, and Air France will be flying to and from Malta for the first time.

Il-Mument says that the government deficit has risen to almost €8 billion in March, with Finance Minister Clyde Caruana warning the Prime Minister against growing debt. Caruana is said to have insisted on stopping unauthorised spending by ministers.

It-Torċa quotes survey findings by statistician Vincent Marmarà showing a 10-point gap between major parties in voting intention polls. Just over 54 percent of respondents said they would vote for the PL compared with 44 percent who prefer the PN.

Malta Today publishes survey results showing an increase in trust ratings for both Robert Abela and Bernard Grech. The Prime Minister scored 47 percent approval, 11 points ahead of the PN Leader who recorded his best result so far of 36 percent.

Kullħadd says that Malta is on course to achieve herd immunity by the end of June, making it among the first EU countries to reach the milestone. Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Twitter that the country is gradually returning to normality.

The Sunday Times quotes Health Minister Chris Fearne who expressed confidence that authorities are on track to vaccinate the entire population by August 15, ahead of the original December target.

The Independent on Sunday says independent newsrooms have expressed concern following a decision by Magistrate Rachel Montebello charging newspapers with contempt of court for publishing stories based on messages found on Yorgen Fenech’s phone.

Illum speaks to the daughter of a resident at Mount Carmel hospital who raised concerns about the treatment of patients. Charlotte Zammit, whose mother has been at the hospital for 20 years, says that residents are considered mere numbers.

Kullħadd quotes figures by the National Statistics Office showing a decrease in social benefit dependency in 2020 compared with the year before. Nearly 4,600 people received benefits because of lack of financial means last year, 400 less than in 2019.

Il-Mument quotes PN spokesperson for sport Clyde Puli who criticised the government decision to stop all sports activities without consultation with stakeholders. Puli said that sport disciplines involving professional athletes are being treated like hobbies.

Morning Briefing

IMF forecasts healthy growth for Malta

The International Monetary Fund is projecting a healthy 4.7% growth for Malta in 2021, a rate which is slightly better than the eurozone average (4.4%). Concurrently, the Fund sees unemployment remaining contained, at the lowest level in the bloc.

The IMF revised forecasts upwards for most EU nations, reflecting additional fiscal support in a few large economies, the anticipated vaccine-powered recovery in the second half of 2021, and continued adaptation of economic activity to subdued mobility. High uncertainty surrounds this outlook, related to the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support to provide a bridge to vaccine-powered normalization, and the evolution of financial conditions.

Creative Europe Desk Malta aims at bolstering accessibility to Creative Europe Funding

Aimed at assisting local artists and creatives in accessing Creative Europe funding, the Creative Europe Desk in Malta is bolstering its operations to serve as a focal point for further engagement with the local industry and to serve as a bridge between local artist and their European counterparts.

Addressing a press conference about the Desk’s upcoming events and initiatives, Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera stated that the upcoming Creative Europe 2021-2027 has increased its funding to €2.4 billion for the upcoming 7-year period.

The Desk also serves as an instrument for partner search by organisations in the Creative Europe programme, mainly for the cooperation funds in culture and media. These funds fall within 3 strands: Culture, Media and Cross-Sectional. A new fund within this programme is also being structured for independent journalism.

Covid-19 Update

Health authorities reported 37 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, 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. Health Minister Chris 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.

CDE News