Government has indicated that entities operating in the media sector will be provided support to continue to operate as they face the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In a press statement published by the Department of Information this afternoon, Government referred to meetings it held with media organisations and informed them that it would be providing aid, including through financial assistance to make sure that “TV and radio stations, newspapers and news portals can continue to operate”.
Government expressed its appreciation of the media for their role in relaying the public health message to stay indoors during the pandemic.
Meanwhile The Times of Malta reported that real estate agents have written to Prime Minister Robert Abela requesting the same support as other industries which have been promised aid. In the letter signed by 13 estate agents, the group argued that their operations are practically at a standstill and many workers have not been receiving any income for weeks.
In her daily briefing, Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci announced that 749 swabs were carried out in the past 24 hours resulting in seven positive cases. Malta’s count has now reached 202 cases.
One of the new cases concerns an Italian women who lives in Malta and who was due to give birth shortly. Both the woman and her newborn are in good condition.
Prof Gauci indicated that only one person remains hospitalised at ITU.
Of the new cases, who are all in a good clinical condition, four relate to travel while three concern local cases.
With regard to travel-related cases, the concern Maltese persons who either live or returned from the United Kingdom. These include two persons who used the UK as connection after traveling to Australia and a cruise respectively.
The local cases include a Maltese woman who works on the same shift of the Lidl worker tested positive earlier this week, a Nigerian who lives at the Hal Far open centre and the Italian woman referred to above.
Prof Gauci thanked the Chamber of Commerce for its support in ensuring that outlets such as supermarkets improve physical distancing to avoid unnecessary exposure and also commit further resources to reduce the amount of people present at the same time, including through deliveries.
There were seven new Covid-19 cases in Malta the last 24 hours, after 738 tests were carried out. In all, there are 195 persons who were positive for the virus. In Mater Dei, some 800 tests for Covid-19 can now start being conducted, and thus Health authorities’ capacity to increase the number of tests has been solidified.
Apart from Mater Dei, tests are also being conducted in three other specialized hubs: Luxol ground in Pembroke; Ħal Farruġ, and Xewkija Gozo. Up till today more than 8,297 swabs have been carried out.
EU approves state aid for Malta
The European Commission has approved a Maltese State aid scheme to support the economy in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework to support the economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This €350 million Maltese scheme will enable public guarantees on loans to support the Maltese economy during the coronavirus outbreak. It will help businesses cover immediate working capital needs and continue their activities in these difficult times. We continue working closely with Member States to ensure that national support measures can be put in place in a timely, coordinated and effective way, in line with EU rules.”
More fines dished out to individuals, none to outlets
In a statement, the Department of Information has confirmed that 18 persons were each fined €100 during the rounds Police conducted in the last 24 hours to ensure no gatherings exceeding 3 persons take place anywhere in public places, as per the legal notice issued by Government. Meanwhile 10 persons have been caught breaking quarantine during the 440 inspections carried out by Police, together with the Department of Health and Civil Protection, on those under obligatory
These 10 persons have each been fined €3,000. 65 fines have been issued from when inspections started. The appeal as always remains for each and every one of us to be responsible and co-operate with the directives given by the authorities.
On the other hand, food and drinks establishments continued to follow the regulations for their closure, so that the spread of coronavirus be contained. Yesterday, more than 720 inspections in 27 localities in Malta, and a further 160 inspections in 11 localities in Gozo were carried out.
Meanwhile as of 02 April 2020, 455 901 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Italy (110 574), Spain (102 136), Germany (73 522), France (56 989), United Kingdom (29 474), Belgium (13 964), Netherlands (13 614), Austria (10 711), Portugal (8 251), Sweden (4 947), Norway (4 665), Czech Republic (3 589), Ireland (3 447), Denmark (3 107), Poland (2 554), Romania (2 460), Luxembourg (2 319), Finland (1 446), Greece (1 375), Iceland (1 220), Croatia (963), Slovenia (841), Estonia (779), Lithuania (581), Hungary (525), Latvia (446), Bulgaria (422), Slovakia (400), Cyprus (320), Malta (188) and Liechtenstein (72).
As of 02 April 2020, 32 778 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Italy (13 157), Spain (9 053), France (4 032), United Kingdom (2 532), Netherlands (1 173), Germany (872), Belgium (828), Sweden (239), Portugal (187), Austria (146), Denmark (104), Ireland (85), Romania (85), Greece (50), Poland (43), Czech Republic (39), Norway (32), Luxembourg (29), Hungary (20), Finland (17), Slovenia (15), Bulgaria (10), Cyprus (9), Lithuania (8), Croatia (6), Estonia (5) and Iceland (2).
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control