Seven more people die while positive with Covid-19 / Malta News Briefing – Sunday 23 January 2022

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News Update

Seven more people die of Covid

Seven people died and 273 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday. Those who died while positive with the virus are two men aged 86 and one 89, and four women, aged 74, 81, 86 and 89. So far, 531 people have died while COVID-positive in Malta.  A total 1,431 patients recovered overnight, bringing the number of active cases down to 5,761.  Of those, 93 are currently in hospital while six require treatment at Mater Dei Hospital’s intensive treatment unit. 

COVID restrictions to be lifted in first week of February – PM Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced COVID-19 restrictions will start to be lifted in the first week of February. “We have had a good booster roll out. Measures have worked,” Abela told party supporters at a political event in Nadur, Gozo on Sunday. The PM followed up on statements by the Deputy PM Chris Fearne on Saturday, saying government had always said measures would be temporary. “Science showed we need a high vaccination rate to beat the pandemic. The imposed measures have been successful, and now is the time to move forward,” Abela said. Abela also slammed the opposition’s U-turn on coronavirus restrictions. “I cannot understand how Bernard Grech remains so populist. Restrictions were in line with other countries in Europe. The vaccine rules are there in a lot of countries.” (Malta Today)

PN is the underdog as PL has ‘public funds to squander’, national TV station is ‘controlled’ – Grech

The Nationalist Party is the underdog because it does not have millions in taxpayers money to “squander” like the PL is doing and because of the lack of an impartial national broadcaster, said Opposition Leader Bernard Grech in the PN’s political rally in Santa Luċija on Sunday. Grech also said that the Labour Party in government does not have the public’s interest at heart, but rather focuses on the price one has, not the value Grech announced that in tomorrow’s Parliament session, the PN’s anti-corruption Bills will have their first reading, as the PN seeks to strengthen the country’s good governance. He said that the government delayed the discussion of the bills out of fear, calling it a ‘gimmick’ and insinuating the package of legislative bills was a money bill. (Malta Independent)

Morning Briefing

MHRA welcomes announced relaxation of Covid rules

The MHRA has reacted positively to news of an exit roadmap, expressing hope that the worst has passed. “Over the course of the past two years there have been numerous false starts and deep disappointment as we returned to various lockdowns, but there is a strong belief this time is different,” MHRA President Tony Zahra stated. He added that the road to recovery would be tough one, noting that “hotels and restaurants would still continue to face various challenges during the return to normality, making ongoing support imperative”.Covid-19 rules to be relaxed next month. Authorities will next week launch the first phase of what is being dubbed as Malta’s exit roadmap, which will see a number of health restrictions related to Covid-19 being removed. This was announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne on Saturday. The plan will spell out the dates when certain measures will be removed, the DPM said, but failed to provide further details. (Times of Malta)

NGOs protest against gender-based violence
A number of human rights NGOs called for legal reforms in view of what they described as lacking protection fo women who are victims of assault and gender-based violence. Demonstrating outside the police HQ, they took umbrage at recent claims that the most recent femicide in Malta was not considered “gender-related”. Police investigators described the murder of Polish student Paulina Dembska as a random act of violence that had not been motivated by the victim’s gender, a statement which was described as indicative of the lack of knowledge and sensitivity surrounding the issue of violence against women. (Maltatoday)

UHM laments PBS ban of unboosted workers

The UHM-Voice of the Workers complained that PBS workers who did not take the booster jab are not being allowed to enter the premises unless they take a PCR test weekly. CEO Josef Vella said this was an illegal decision, going beyond the merits of the law. The State broadcaster, however, is insisting it has every right to impose such restriction due to the nature of its operations and to “offer a safe working environment”, the UHM said. Vella said that “this policy does not reflect whatsoever the replies given last week within the Employment Relations Board whereby trade unions and employers were invited to submit their queries to the Superintendent for Public Health, the Occupational Health and Safety Authority and the Data Protection Commissioner. During the meeting it was made amply clear that only those places listed in the legal notice are to take such measure”. (The Malta Independent)

Covid-19 Update
Health authorities reported 285 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, while four persons died. Just under 1,300 patients recovered overnight, with active cases going to down to just over 7,000.

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