Updated 17:07 Prime Minister Robert Abela has announced that as from midnight tomorrow restaurants, bars, cinemas, gyms and local clubs (kazini) are to remain closed. Deliveries and take-aways will be permitted to continue offering their services.
Dr Abela expressed his disappointment at the number of people failing to observe the requirements related to quarantine and announced that the applicable fine will be increased to €3,000.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne appealed for the elderly to stay confined at home as much as possible. Young children should not be taken to visit their grandparents as the elderly are at a higher degree of risk.
Replying to press questions, Dr Abela noted that while the health experts have not yet recommended a total lockdown, plans for such have already been drafted.
Press Conference by Prime Minister
Updated 12:44pm Nine new cases of coronavirus in Malta have been reported this morning. For the first time, the Authorities acknowledged three locally transmitted cases. These concern three health care workers who came in contact with two other health care workers who had been previously identified as positive.
The other six cases concern three Maltese nationals, a Spaniard, an Italian and an English person.
While Prof Gauci has insisted that the profession of the healthcare professionals should not be identified, local media outlets are indicating that the patients include a number of doctors and radiologists.
There are 30 cases of coronavirus in Malta following this latest update, two of which have recovered.
The significant health and economic consequences of the spread of coronavirus in Malta continued to dominate the news throughout Sunday. The announcement of three new cases, which to the tally to 21, was softened by two lengthy reassuring interventions by Government and the Health Authorities.
In the first, Deputy Prime Minister announced a raft of measures to highlight the Authorities’ preparedness in case of the further spreading of the COVID19 virus in Malta. The Minister said that the Authorities’ main effort was intended to spread the curve over a period of time, but all resources were being made available to prepare for the largest number possible. In total, 680 beds will be made available for coronavirus patients by the end of the month, although the Minister repeatedly insisted that these were being prepared for a worst-case scenario only.
Minutes later, Prime Minister Robert Abela insisted during a televised addressed on Labour’s party station that “the situation was calm and completely under control.” He welcomed the fact that two patients have already recovered from the virus. Abela insisted that this is defining moment in our history, with decisions – even tough ones – having to be taken at the right time. The Prime Minister also spoke about the tax breaks being offered to support business.
However, the Maltese Chamber of SMEs later said that the announced support measures will have no impact and are no way close to what businesses need in order to sustain jobs. It insisted that the proposed measures were unfit for its members and noted that small businesses were appalled to learn that the burden of quarantine leave has been secretly placed on businesses.