Update 1400 – 84 new Covid-19 cases were detected in the 24 hours preceding Sunday’s update. Another four people died. There were 118 recoveries registered.
Update 1200 – Political speeches
Having the police wait on the Prime Minister’s go-ahead on whether to access tax chief Marvin Gaerty’s phone as part of investigations being carried out by them, shows the country’s institutions are not working, Bernard Grech has said. The opposition leader was reacting to reports on Sunday during a phone-in interview on the party’s radio station NET FM.(MaltaToday)
Prime Minister Robert Abela during a telephone interview, stressed that Malta is on its way to make a swift recovery from the virus’ damage to the economy. Abela said that in comparison to other countries, the PM noted how Malta fares off quite well as results show, leaving the country well-prepared to recover faster in economic terms, while other countries were still introducing lockdown restrictions during the festive season; leaving many living in tougher conditions during Christmas. “I am ready to compare our country to the rest of the world, and we see that the measures worked as the results show. Today, we find our country in pole position to recover economically. Christmas day in other countries was one of the hardest days due to restrictions abroad, in Malta this was not the case. We could let people live close to normality. We will be one of the first countries that recovers economically.” (Malta Independent)
Archbishop Charles Scicluna expressed a desire to see that the moment would soon come for the young people to sit down again with their grandparents and listen to the true wisdom of life. The Archbishop was celebrating mass at St. Anthony’s Chapel on Manoel Island. Scicluna, in his homily, referred to the isolation our elderly are going through. He said that although technology helps, they are still being deprived of their grandchildren. (Newsbook)
Update 0900 – Malta kicks off its vaccination programme
Following the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines on Saturday, Malta initiated its vaccination programme. The first person to be vaccinated was Ms Rachel Grech, a nurse working in the infectious disease unit at the Mater Dei Hospital.
55 persons are expected to get their vaccination on Sunday.
Updated 0850 – Newspaper Review
The Independent on Sunday leads with the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccine doses on Saturday morning. Prime Minister Robert Abela said the first 10,000 doses bring hope and courage for a return to normality.
The Sunday Times quotes survey findings which show that seven in ten people in Malta are willing to take the Covid-19 vaccine if they have the option. Just over 10 percent they were unlikely to take it while 13 percent were undecided.
Malta Today takes a look back at the main events of 2020, which the paper has declared as the Year of the Virus. A feature says that Malta lost control of the second Covid-19 wave but managed to avoid a ‘tsunami’.
Illum says that the first Covid-19 vaccines will be administered this morning at Mater Dei hospital. Another batch of doses are expected to be received on Monday with further weekly arrivals in the next months.
It-Torċa carries an interview with a Maltese doctor in the UK, Dr Miguel Debono who encouraged people to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Dr Debono said that the approved vaccines have undergone strict testing by authorities.
Il-Mument quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech who welcomed the arrival of the first Covid-19 vaccine doses in Malta. He said that the event demonstrates the solidarity of the European Union in practice.
The Sunday Times reveals that Prime Minister Robert Abela is undecided about allowing the police to access the phone of tax commissioner Marvin Gaerty. According to the income tax act, the commissioner is protected by secrecy provisions that only the government can waive.
The Independent on Sunday publishes an interview with Book Council chairman Mark Camilleri who said that the public has become less tolerant of corruption since the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Il-Mument reports on the 25th edition of the L-Istrina fundraising event for the Malta Community Chest Fund on Saturday. The drive raised over €6.5 million during 12 hours of programming on three main TV stations.Morning Briefing
L-Istrina raises more than €6.5 million
Just over €6.5 million were collected yesterday in Malta’s biggest annual telethon, l-Istrina, in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund. This amount was roughly 300,000 euro more than last year, and half a million short of the record amount set in 2018.
President George Vella said that this was a tough year for charitable organisations, with many of them being forced to cancel fundraising events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Covid-19 Vaccine arrives in Malta / Discussions on “vaccine passport” initiated
The long-awaited Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Malta this morning, a day before the start of a national vaccination programme. 10,000 doses of the Pfizer – BioNTech vaccine reached Malta International Airport at 10.40am, delivered from Puurs, Belgium.
Around 600,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine – enough to cover 300,000 people – would be shipped to Malta over the coming weeks and months, Health Minister Chris Fearne said. Malta secured additional doses in the past days.
The EU is ensuring that all States obtain doses at the same time.
Dr Abela said the vaccine will not only protect health but is also expected to return the economy to stand on its feet. However, he appealed to all to continue following directives because according to him all may be lost is this does not happen.
Health Minister Chris Fearne explained that those who will receive the vaccine will also receive a health certificate both in digital format and as a hard copy. He added that at a European level, a discussion on whether to issue a vaccine passport has initiated.
Health authorities announced three further Covid-19 fatalities in Malta on Saturday evening, aged between 74 and 81. These include a 74-year-old man who died yesterday at Mater Dei. The other victims were a man and a woman, aged 80 and 81 respectively, who also died at the national hospital, last Thursday.
Three patients aged between 74 and 81 have succumbed to coronavirus, the health authorities reported on Saturday. Two victims died two days ago and were only reported on Saturday. This means that 206 persons have now lost their lives in Malta since the onset of the coronavirus.
Yesterday, 129 new cases were reported, with only three persons being declared to have recovered.