UPDATE: Further easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Malta announced / News Briefing – Sunday 25 April 2021

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Update – Covid19 Update

A 67-year-old person died while diagnosed with Covid. Meanwhile there were 25 new Covid-19 cases registered in the last 24 hours. The number of recoveries was of 35. The total number of active cases is 465.

Update – Malta announces further easing of Covid-19 restrictions

Prime Minister Robert Abela has announced the relaxation of COVID-19 measures, including the resumption of sports and extracurricular activities, and the opening of restaurants to the public.

Relaxed measures as from 10 May

  • Professional contact sports can resume training
  • All non-contact sports can be carried out without spectators
  • Extracurricular activities, catechism lessons will resume
  • Open markets will be able to take place
  • Restaurants and snack bars can open until 5pm, with maximum four people at each table. After 5pm, those restaurants and snack bars will still be able to offer food delivery and takeaway services.
  • Removal of travel restrictions between Malta and Gozo

PM Abela said that government will be issuing state-funded vouchers in the coming weeks, so as to boost the economy.

Man arrested after assaulting and injuring two policemen enforcing Covid rules

A 19-year old person from Zabbar was arrested in relation to a case where two police officers had to be admitted to hospital. The police had to be treated after they were assaulted by the man after they requested him to respect social distance during an inspection in Golden Bay. In a statement, the Police Officers Union stated that the Policemen tried to draw the attention of this man who, instead of cooperating, he assaulted them and threw sand towards their faces. The officers were admitted in hospital.

PN won’t negotiate with hackers

The Nationalist Party will not negotiate with hackers threatening to publish stolen documents belonging to the party, Bernard Grech said on Sunday. During Sunday’s interview, Grech weighed in on his plan to weed out those within the PN who do not toe the party line.   He said he would not exclude that there could be some PN MPs who would not be allowed to contest the next general election with the party if they persisted in acting outside the party rank and file.   Grech said the electorate was showing the PN that it needed an attitude change and if some within the PN did not understand this, then he would take the necessary steps to ensure they did not harm the PN’s chances at the polls. Times of Malta

 

Press Review

Illum says that Malta is expected to be among the first to join the UK’s green travel list. Sources in the tourism industry are expecting a slow start to the season in June with a significant increase in arrivals in August

Malta Today reveals that passport buyers presented receipts for low-value items such as cinema tickets, parking tickets, and traditional pastizzi to prove their residence in Malta. On average, the customers spent 16 days in the country.

The Independent on Sunday says that IIP concessionaires Henley & Partners named Alex Muscat as their reference person at the OPM to help ease the applications of clients, including minimising media exposure. Muscat is currently junior minister for citizenship.

The Sunday Times reports that Henley & Partners advised golden passport buyers to donate to Marigold Foundation to satisfy their link with Malta. The charity was chaired by Michelle Muscat, the wife of the Prime Minister at the time.

Illum says that Malta is expected to be among the first to join the UK’s green travel list. Sources in the tourism industry are expecting a slow start to the season in June with a significant increase in arrivals in August.

Il-Mument speaks with representatives of stakeholders in the tourism industry about the PN strategy for the sector unveiled this week, who described the plan as positive, serious, and well-studied.

Kullħadd announces that the Civil Aviation Directorate is processing applications by 16 airlines for Air Operator Certificates while four aviation training companies are also seeking to register in Malta.  

It-Torċa publishes an interview with OPM Minister Carmelo Abela who said that he will not resign following claims of wrongdoing. He insisted that allegations against him are ‘pure invention’ without any basis.

The Independent on Sunday quotes Health Minister Chris Fearne who urged the public to stay vigilant ahead of the planned relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. Fearne said that half of adults have now been vaccinated.

Malta Today quotes state witness Vince Muscat who claimed that his alleged co-conspirators in the Caruana Galizia murder, Alfred and George Degiorgio, expressed regret at not having recorded meetings with former minister Chris Cardona.

The Sunday Times says that the former PL Labour of Rabat, Charles Azzopardi, will contest the general election with the PN. Azzopardi, who contested the casual election for Edward Scicluna’s seat earlier this year said that Labour lost its principles.

It-Torċa says that credit rating agency Scope has given Malta an ‘A+’ score for reforms in the area of good governance. In its report, the German company said that the country’s economic outlook remains promising.

Illum reports that the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life engages former Attorney General Anthony Borg and former newspaper editor Rachel Attard among his consultants. The Commissioner said this week that advisors at his Office are paid a combined €54,000.

It-Torċa quotes the Commissioner for Human Rights at Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, criticised the ‘deafening silence’ of the EU in the wake of the tragedy in the Mediterranean this week that left 174 migrants dead.

Il-Mument says that people expressed anger at claims by PL media that IVF is available for free. Comments on social media said that couples are paying around €4,000 in medicine for every cycle.

Morning Briefing

Scam on Pfizer vaccines doing rounds

Health authorities have urged people to ignore a false message suggesting that COVID-19 vaccines can be obtained without an appointment at a number of health centres.

The message, which has been sent to social media users, lists a number of locations where Pfizer vaccines are supposedly being administered without appointments for the next 10 days to those over 40. This information is false, health authorities said.

Random Inspections on constructions announced

The CEO for the Building and Construction Authority, Karl Azzopardi announced that random patrols will start taking place on sites to ensure that regulations are being observed and that no dangers are being caused for neighbouring residents. Engineer Azzopardi said on PBS programme Insights that throughout every phase of the project they have undertaken will require stamped approval from the Authority and fines for breaches are to be increased to induce enforcement.

He insisted severe fines will act as a deterrent to induce developers to proceed along the method statement submitted. He said the Authority will see that machinery being used is suitable and will not cause damages to neighbours and more emphasis will be placed on training and the certificat

Covid-19 Update
Active Covid-19 cases in Malta have fallen below 500 for more than half a year, after 20 new cases were reported on Saturday. Some 58 patients recovered, meaning that 476 persons are currently infected. No deaths were reported on Saturday.