Covid-19 Malta Update – Malta News Briefing – Sunday 13 December

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Update 1235 – 52 new cases of COVID-19 were registered on Sunday, the health ministry has announced. 2,659 swab tests were carried out in the last 24 hours. 

OFFICIAL COVID-19 figures for 13•12•2020 Chris Fearne | MaltaGov | Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate

Posted by saħħa on Sunday, 13 December 2020

Three new deaths were also recorded on Sunday, with the first death being a 68-year-old man who was confirmed positive on 1 December, the second case was a 78-year-old man who was confirmed positive on the 28 November, and the third was an 87-year-old woman who was confirmed positive on the 30 November. They all died yesterday at Mater Dei. The total deaths now number 169. 90 recoveries were registered on Sunday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 9,169. 

Update 1215 – Bringing to justice people involved in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia is the country’s first and primary challenge, the President George Vella has said.  Addressing the nation in his Republic Day speech, Vella said the assassination has changed the country’s political landscape.  “We must bring to justice all those involved, and we must ensure that such a horrible act does not happen again,” he said. – MaltaToday

Update 1200President George Vella appointed eleven members to The National Order of Merit. Seven other individuals were awarded the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika.

Update 1120 – Man dies after falling off cliff in Delimara

A 53 year old man, died on Sunday after falling from a cliff in Delimara.

The accident happened at around 8.40am. The police said the man, who is Austrian, was walking along the cliffs when he fell from a height of around three storeys. He was certified dead on site.

Updated 0900 Newspaper Review

Malta Today reveals a letter by pharmaceutical company Novartis to Prime Minister Robert Abela, accusing the government of flouting EU regulations by ignoring stockpiles by local importers and procuring similar medicines from outside the EU instead.

The Sunday Times says that former chief of staff Keith Schembri alleged that Lands Authority CEO James Piscopo hid over €600,000 in an offshore account. Sources told the paper that Schembri originally made the claim in January last year.

The Independent on Sunday says that the American University of Malta lost more than €11 million between 2018 and 2019. AUM Provost Professor Narcisa Roxana Mosteanu told the paper that the university is committed to the long-term.

Illum reports on a court decision that struck down a law amendment introduced in 2018 to protect band clubs from eviction from properties on lease. A spokesperson for the Stella Maris band club in Sliema said they will appeal the ruling.

It-Torċa follows the story of a 20-year-old man who has been forced out of the house by his mother and her partner after going out with a pink bag. His mother, a Third Country National, later reported him to the police requesting his deportation.

Kullħadd reports that the Customs Department has intercepted just under €180 million worth of drugs since 2017. The paper says that the success follows investment in new technology and equipment by the government.

Il-Mument covers a meeting by PN Leader Bernard Grech with new electoral candidates. Grech urged the candidates to act and show that the party is ready to listen and bring change for the better.

The Sunday Times publishes an interview with Finance Minister Clyde Caruana who said that he is confident that Malta will avoid the grey-list of the Financial Action Task Force. Caruana is meeting representatives of the global anti-money laundering body in the coming weeks.

The Independent on Sunday quotes a statement by the Commissioner for Standards in Public who said that the Planning Authority failed to take steps against relatives of a minister who are being accused of abuse by a complainant.

Malta Today reports that less than a third of GP trainees said they were prepared to take the Covid-19 vaccine, according to a survey held in September. Paediatrician Victor Grech said the findings show that young people are generally less concerned about the infection.

Illum speaks to SME Chamber CEO Abigail Mamo who said that the retail sector performed well on the December 8th public holiday, when Christmas shopping traditionally begins in Malta. Mamo observed that sales were up in Valletta, too.

It-Torċa follows up on a report last week about a case of pay discrimination against a person with disability. The paper says that more families have spoken up, with one source estimating that persons with disability are paid around 10 percent less than their colleagues.

Il-Mument says that the Opposition is against the appointment of former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna as Central Bank Governor, arguing that his track record of inaction is harmful to Malta’s reputation.

Kullħadd says that there were more than 4,500 Gozitan workers commuting daily to Malta in 2012, contradicting claims by Opposition Leader Bernard Grech that the number has risen over the last years.

Morning Briefing

Union claims retired teachers being called back

The Union of Professional Educators (UPE) said that the Education Ministry is seeking the engagement of retired teachers. “Our human resources in the field have so significantly been reduced, that it is being considered necessary to call on those who, after years of service, had left the sector by virtue of their age,” UPE executive head Graham Sansone said.

Sansone recalled that the UPE had warned that the pandemic would decimate the availability of teachers due to contagion or mandatory quarantine. “At this point, one can only hope that the pig-headed decision to ignore the union’s plea to protect our highly-trained workforce, with more stringent and drastic measures, will not result in a situation detrimental to our students nationwide.” The UPE expressed its doubts that retired teachers could deliver the high-tech education which the ministry has been requiring since the start of the pandemic.

Cash flow hurting small business owners – PN

The Nationalist Party said that small business owners and the sSelf-employed are feeling the pressure of lack of cash flow. In a statement, it said that redundancies are on the card if the situation does not change beyond January. The Party said that it is currently consulting with self employed so that they can present policies that offer hope to a market that is declining.
The appeal follows an appeal made earlier this year when restrictions were introduced in August which affected bars and closure of bars, nightclubs and discotheques.

NGO, Ministry spar on HIV medication

Some patients are facing a severe shortage of HIV medication, having to rely on stockpiles provided by others, according to NGO Checkpoint Malta. In a statement, Government said that it is investing over €3 million for more advanced HIV treatment than being offered to date in order to provide patients with better care services.

The Ministry statement said in addition new medicines have been distributed as from this week and will continue to be received by all patients over the coming days.

Chris Vincent Jung, the President of the NGO insisted that “some people living with HIV are reduced to basically scavenge their own medication. Staying on medication is the key to staying undetectable, which is what makes HIV untransmittable. Being untransmittable is key to reach our common goal to a world without AIDS.”

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