Active Covid-19 cases climb above 10,000 after 1,353 new infections reported – Malta News Briefing – Thursday 30 December 2021

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Covid-19 Update

Active cases climbed above 10,000 on Thursday with health authorities reproting 1353 new cases and 172 recoveries. 94 persons are now hospitalised, six of whom in ITU.

Nurses say resources completely stretched

Human resources at Mater Dei Hospital are in a dire state, MUMN President Paul Pace said, adding that almost 100 nurses are currently under quarantine. Pace, whoses comments were requested by The Times of Malta prior to yesterday’s announcements on quarantine, added that this situation tallies up on the fact that there had already been an acute shortage of nurses and the fact that beds were fast filling up due to COVID.

The changes announced on Wednesday apply only to those who have received a third dose of the COVID vaccine and are not showing any symptoms. Hospital staff are only obliged to stay in quarantine for seven days. “But even with this measure, we are not coping with the number of patients coming in,” Pace lamented. The MUMN also noted that the situation ion Gozo was worse, with elective surgeries being postponed.

Morning Briefing

DPM announces easing of quarantine rules easing

Quarantine rules will be reduced as from next week, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced, with the principal beneficiaries being persons who have received the vaccine booster. Fearne also revealed that todayhalf of the adult population would have been vaccinated with the booster.

“As of Monday, COVID-19-positive people who have taken the booster will be required to do a ten-day quarantine period instead of 14 days. This will be possible as long as these individuals have no symptoms during the last three days of quarantine”, he announced.

People who have been in contact with a positive person, ie “primary contacts”, and who are in possession of a valid vaccine certificate, may continue to complete the mandatory quarantine seven days after the last contact with the positive person. This is possible as long as they do a rapid test that results in a negative. Also on Monday, people considered to be “secondary contacts”, that is people living in the same residence with people who have been in direct contact with a positive person, do not even have to quarantine if they are vaccinated with the booster.

Earlier during the day, the Nationalist Party and a number of business lobby groups, such as the Malta Chamber and the MEA had called for an easing of these rules saying that businesses were being placed in a position where they could not guarantee the continuation of operations.

Teachers’ union says running schools is impossible

The Malta Union of Teachers said that although the union has yet to finalise its position on whether schools should reopen for the new term next week, it would be difficult for schools to run smoothly and lessons to go on without disruptions. According to MUT President Marco Bonnici “teachers are in quarantine, others unwell and, at the same time, some students will be at home while others are in class. If we had to reopen schools today, with the numbers we have, the operation would be severely impacted both because of the lack of people as well as the other disruptions with hybrid systems,” Bonnici said.

PN calls for extension of wage supplement

The Opposition has reiterated its call for the Covid-19 wage supplement to be extended to March, two months longer then the deadline stipulated by Government. The party said that the without such extension business uncertainty will increase. “We are seeing a number of businesses come to a standstill as consumers are being more cautious during this period. While businesses have been eagerly waiting for consumers, Malta’s total trade was much less than expected,” the PN said. In its statement, the PN said that “we need to find a balance between curbing the virus and the freedom for people to live their lives.”

Covid-19: A new record of 1,337 cases was reported on Thursday while 116 recovered. Active cases have now risen to 8956.

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