217 new cases brings total number of active cases to 2177 – Average age is 28 / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 20 July 2021

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Update 1230 – Covid Update

Malta registered 217 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. There were 3 recoveries. The current number of active cases is 2177. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Malta had 32,833 cases. There 4,091 swab tests in the previous day. From the 146 cases reported on Monday, there were 97 which were 10-39, with the average age being 28.

Update 1206 – A two-year-old boy was seriously injured when he fell from a window, at a height of one-and-a-half storeys in  Triq ir-Rattan, Mellieħ on Tuesday morning, the police said.

A 54-year-old Indian man, residing in Pieta, is seriously injured after falling from a ladder while working at the University of Malta.

Updated 1145 – 18 months to get off grey-list: MFIN Perm Sec

Government is estimating that Malta could get off the grey-list of untrustworthy jurisdictions in a year and a half, and that is being considered as an ‘ambitious target’. Finance Ministry long-serving Permanent Secretary Alfred Camilleri said that Government was working on an action plan which is almost in its final draft and planned to kickoff the necessary actions quickly. Camilleri chairs the National Coordination Committee on Combatting Money Laundering, which is responsible for getting Malta back onto the whitelist.

Updated 0845: Newspaper Review

The Independent leads with plans by Corinthia Hotels to convert the Ħal Ferħ complex in Mellieħa into a low-rise hotel and tourist residence. The company said the design will respect traditional Maltese architecture.

The Times reports that several companies are considering requirements for weekly Covid-19 tests for unvaccinated employees. The director-general of the employers’ association said that it is not unreasonable to ask workers to take periodical swab tests.

L-Orizzont says that Malta was one of nine countries that recently wrote to the European Commission urging it to set an EU-wide cut-off date for the banning of new combustion engine cars. Sales of petrol and diesel cars will not be allowed in EU markets from 2035.

In-Nazzjon says that hundreds of people formed long queues at the Technopark in Mosta and the University of Malta as the walk-in clinics administering the Covid-19 vaccine opened on Monday. Several foreign visitors took the opportunity to get the jab.

The Independent quotes a statement by Moviment Graffitti demanding an investigation into Infrastructure Malta after works carried out on a farmer’s land in Żabbar without the owner’s consent or any compensation for losses.

The Times says that two teenage students were rushed to hospital with food poisoning while they were in quarantine. One of them later tested positive for Covid-19 and was put in isolation, leaving her 14-year-old sister on her own.  

L-Orizzont says that a reported incident of a black man attacked by a group of people in Gozo last weekend is not an isolated case. At least two people have been summoned by the police in connection with the events.  

In-Nazzjon reports that the parliamentary committee for standards is still without a date for the next session discussing the Standards Commissioner’s probe into Rosianne Cutajar. The government members are objecting to the opposition’s request to grill the MP’s aide. 

Morning Briefing

MHRA asks for tax exemptions as industry struggles to find workers

Income on overtime and part-time income earned by employees in the tourism, travel and hospitality sector should be tax exempt to entice more workers to the industry. The MHRA said that the country needs to do all that is needed to attract and retain employees working in the tourism industry even during such difficult times, as if we get this wrong then the repercussions can be serious.”

Meanwhile, Malta cannot do protocol U-turns if it is to attract tourists, according to the CEO of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA), Andrew Agius Muscat. He was reacting to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s decision to put Malta on the red list following an increase in infections. “Once protocols started to change again, there was a very drastic – or rather important – drop in bookings. This now needs to be evaluated week by week. Once there is change in the market, there will always be a reaction,” he told the Malta Independent.

Two men to be charged on Gozo incident

The Police will be charging in Court a Gozitan man and a Somali who lives in Gozo following an argument in Mġarr port on the night between Saturday and Sunday. Police were asked to intervene after a man from Somalia was allegedly assaulted by by a Gozitan man. Facebook posts spoke about the immigrant being thrown into the sea to the cheers of the present crowd.

Covid-19 Update: 146 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday, with 15 persons recovering. This takes the number of active cases to 1963. 3,809 swab tests were carried out yesterday. Of the 195 cases reported yesterday, 125 cases concerned 10-39 year-olds. 18 persons are currently hospitalised. Local residents can get vaccinated at the mobile unit as from this week, with long queues reported this morning.