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300 people to be allowed in seated events / Malta News Briefing – Thursday 5 August 2021

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Times of Malta reports that Marsascala residents have spent long hours in darkness and stifling heat after a power cut late in the night was not resolved come morning.

MaltaToday reports that the Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association (MEIA) has expressed its disappointment that the industry was not given the go-ahead to resume standing events.

Newsbook reports that the the launch of the ferry service to Augusta will be delayed due to last-minute legal challenge.

TVM reports that the heatwave we are experiencing at the moment is having an effect on blood donations as well, and over the last three days, only 96 people have come forward to give blood, which is almost half of those who normally go.

Updated 1300

Covid-19 Update: There were 78 new cases found today as 204 people recovered. Active cases reached 1,206. 3,260 swab tests were taken. An 88-year-old woman died of COVID-19, the health authorities said on Thursday. A total of 35 people are now receiving treatment in hospital, four of whom are in intensive care, “It is clear that those who are suffering the most are not vaccinated,” Health Minister Chris Fearne said, pointing out that 95 per cent of all
cases in Malta are caused by the Delta variant.

Prime Minister meets Caruana Galizia family after damning inquiry report: Prime Minister Robert Abela met the family of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia after a court inquiry found state shortcomings indirectly contributed to her murder. Times of Malta reported that the “cordial” meeting focused on implementing the recommendations of the inquiry.

Updated 1145: Further social restrictions relaxed

As of August 16, organised events will allow a cluster of 300 seated people. Those people need to have a vaccination certificate. Events still need to abide by social distancing regulations. This number will increase to 500 people per cluster as of August 30.

Those vaccinated who came in contact with a positive case will only need to quarantine for 7 days from August 16. Speaking at a press conference, Health Minister Chris Fearne encouraged pregnant women and their partners to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying that there is scientific consensus that the benefits of getting vaccinated when pregnant far outweigh the risks.

The Minister also said that from mid-September, those immunocompromised, immunosuppressed and elderly in care centres will receive booster shots against Covid-19. “It does not look like we need to give booster shots to the general population so far but we are looking at more information as it comes out,” he said.

Fearne also announced that an elderly person passed away after being Covid positive.  total of 35 people are now receiving treatment in hospital, four of whom are in intensive care.”It is clear that those who are suffering the most are not vaccinated,” Fearne said,  pointing out that 95 per cent of all cases in Malta are caused by the Delta variant

Updated 0835 – Newspaper Review

The Malta Business Weekly publishes an interview with Financial Arbiter Reno Borg who said that more than 5,000 customers sought assistance from his Office last year. Dr Borg said that there was a rise in claims related to insurance.

In-Nazzjon leads with a PN statement slamming the government’s energy policy following a series of power cuts in various localities. Party spokesperson for Energy, Ryan Callus, said the government failed to invest in energy distribution.

The Times says that tomato growers estimate a loss of about a third of their produce this year due to the early heatwaves. Tomatoes are among the main crops in Malta’s agro-processing industry.

The Independent speaks with the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Marisa Xuereb, who said that close personal relationships between businesspeople and politicians are not right. She urged players on both sides to use the appropriate forums.

L-Orizzont says that the Commissioner for Persons with Disability registered 475 complaints last year, a decrease of 24 per cent from 2019. Cases related to the place of work, however, jumped by 75 per cent year-on-year.

The Times says that the Prime Minister met members of the Caruana Galizia family on Wednesday. It is understood that the main subject of discussion were the recommendations of the public inquiry report.

The Independent reports that a by-law to prohibit caravan and camper owners from parking their vehicles permanently along the Coast Road fell through as the government failed to enact it. The Naxxar local council had voted unanimously in favour of the by-law.

L-Orizzont reports that the courts threw out a judicial protest filed by the Central Bank seeking to block industrial action by the bank’s security services on the instructions of the General Workers’ Union.

The Malta Business Weekly speaks with the CEO of Express Trailers Franco Azzopardi about the impact of Brexit on the logistics sector. He said that new customs controls brought new pressures on imports, but exports remained strong.

In-Nazzjon reports the appointment of Rudolph Marmara as the new PN Organisational Secretary. The role was vacated by Michael Piccinino who was elected secretary general of the party last week.

Morning Briefing

PN, PL trade blows on energy after power cuts

The two main parties exchanged accusations on energy on Wednesday following a number of power cuts left thousands in the dark and suffering the excessive heat. PN Spokesperson Ryan Callus said that this was the fault with Government spending millions on a new powerplant rather than investing in infrastructure on the ground. The PN MP recalled the Nationalist Party’s plan for energy and promised this will invest in upgrading and the balancing of the system of Low Voltage distribution, so as to prevent power outages and prevent low and high voltages in various areas, the cause of power outages. The PL pointed out that when the PN was in Government it increased energy and water bills for households and enterprises. In addition, nobody can deny that energy interruptions are currently 50% less than during previous PN administrations.

Theuma asked for proof of flat ownership

Melvin Theuma, the self-confessed middleman in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has been asked to show proof that he owned a Mosta flat allegedly used in the 2010 HSBC bank heist as a safehouse by the criminals. Theuma was being questioned in court on Wednesday to face cross-examination in proceedings against Darren Debono, known as it-Topo. Theuma’s testimony in these cases is one of the conditions included in his presidential pardon to tell all on the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder and other cases. Theuma was unable to recall the name of the vendor on the deed of sale.

Covid-19 Update:

82 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Wednesday while 293 persons recovered. These numbers, identified through 3,346 swab tests, lower the active case tally to 1,333. A total of 30 Covid-positive patients are currently being treated at Mater Dei, five of whom are in intensive therapy.

CDE News