CoVid 19 Malta Bulletin – Sunday 15th March 2020

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Update: 18:58 Air Malta is organising a repatriation flight on Monday to transport critical medical supplies and repatriate passengers from Rome to Malta.

Maltese Nationals and residents affected from this travel ban and who are currently outside Malta need to contact this number: +356 22042200, email on sitcen.mfea@gov.mt or contact the Maltese Embassy in Rome to confirm their travel arrangements.

KM612 will depart Malta for Rome Fiumicino airport at 7.55am. KM613 will depart from Rome to Malta at 10.10am.

Air Malta said it would be keeping its customers updated through its website www.airmalta.com and social media channels including www.facebook.com/AirMalta/.

 

Three further cases of coronavirus were announced today taking tally to 21.

Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci has this morning announced that Malta has so far reported 21 cases diagnosed with coronavirus.

Other updates

Update : 16:27

Even though Malta’s airport is not closed down and flights are operating, the airport was practically deserted with very few in sightOver the past week the Maltese government has stopped flights from various countries while as of last Friday, whoever was flying back into Malta had to spend 14-day mandatory self-isolation.

 

The Chamber of SME’s in a statement said that the announced support measures will have no impact and are no way close to what businesses need in order to sustain jobs.
Businesses call for drastic measures and real and immediate support to avoid mass redundancies

Members were appalled when they learned that not only the measures that they have been waiting for are unfit but also that the burden of quarantine leave has been secretly placed on businesses, in line with jury leave. This came about through an amended Legal Notice that was published during the night following the meeting with employer bodies with the Prime Minister and preceding the announcement of the measures the following day. No mention of this was made at any point, or consultation took place. The Chamber of SMEs pertinently points out that this means that government wants employers to bear the cost entirely and for the days to be added over and above the current employee leave entitlement.

The Prime Minister has publicly stated that the economic impact of Covid-19 will be carried by the government, the employer and the employee. Businesses have been contributing to a positive economic outlook with government announcing surplus after surplus. The government must now put money where its mouth is because talk is cheap and time is running out.

Government has to wake up to the realisation that businesses will just collapse if they are not helped and more burdens are placed on them. 


Hospital Visiting Hours: In a statement on through Facebook, Mater Dei announced that the hospital was temporarily readjusting the visiting hours between Monday and Sunday, from 5pm to 6 pm. 

These restrictions may be difficult for patients and their loved ones, but Mater Dei Hospital is taking these necessary steps to protect patients and staff. Limiting the number of visitors is temporary and is being done to safeguard the health of all who come to Mater Dei Hospital.

 

Update : 12:27

Three further cases of coronavirus take tally to 21.

Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci has this morning announced that Malta has so far reported 21 cases diagnosed with coronavirus. Three new cases were reported overnight, as follows:

A 23-year old man who travelled to Dublin, on 7th March and returned to Malta on 10th March. Symptoms first appeared four days later, with the person then quarantining himself. This man was holidaying with another person who was diagnosed positive yesterday. He came in contact with six colleagues at work and these parents are all being quarantined.

A 20-year old Maltese student who travelled to Dublin between the 5th and 10th March but was in a separate group to the above. He attended a lecture at University and therefore the Authorities are contact tracing other students.

A 21-year old Portuguese man who travelled from Madrid earlier this week to start employment in Malta. This person and his girlfriend both self-quarantined, with the latter being tested as negative.

In all 722 tests, covering both persons who had travelled as well as others were carried so far.

Update : 10:24

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne announced a raft of measures to highlight the Authorities’ preparedness in case of the further spreading of the COVID19 virus in Malta. He welcomed the news that a second person originally testing as positive has now completed a full recovery. All other patients are in a good health condition and or their way to recovery.

The Minister said that the Authorities’ main effort was intended to spread the curve over a period of time, but all resources are being made available to prepare for the largest number possible.

Fearne said that 28 beds earmarked for COVID19 patients are available outside Mater Dei in a separately equipped hospital. Sir Paul Boffa Hospital has been emptied completely and from tomorrow will have 12 beds available. By next week 93 beds outside of Mater Dei will be available with the number increasing even further towards the end of the month.

Meanwhile a number of non-clinical areas at Mater Dei will also be transformed in wards which can welcome COVID patients. So far 163 beds are available, with the number expected to rise up to 274 in the coming days. This will mean that over 600 beds will be available inside and outside Mater Dei by the end of the month.

Mater Dei will also transform the West Wing of the Emergency Department for COVID-positive patients, while two wards will be dedicated to those patients who tested positive but required unrelated interventions.

Update : 10:16

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne is addressing a Press Conference on the preparedness for the CoVid pandemic. He announced that a second patient who had the CoVid 19 recovered.

Update : 09:00

While acknowledging that it might be considered a draconian measure by some, the Kamra tal-Ispizjara ta Malta strongly urges Prime  Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister For Health, to order an immediate lockdown and travel ban and implement this without delay in a further effective attempt to ensure the “flattening of the curve” of the covid-19 spread, in the words of our learned public health and infection control experts, the Malta Independent reports.

The Chamber of Pharmacists call endorses those of its colleagues in the CMTU, conjoined and separately MAM, MUBE, UHM and other unions, confederations and significantly medical specialists associations; these organizations are taking up the advice of our European umbrella organizations who have preceded us in this unprecedented fast evolvement of the situation and advising us that it’s better to be decisive and draconian than reactive.

 

Update : 07.10 am

All non-urgent surgeries will soon have to be postponed as Mater Dei Hospital starts descaling normal operations to focus on the coronavirus outbreak, CEO Celia Falzon has confirmed to the Times of Malta. “Our elective [non-urgent] operations will have to slow down significantly and will eventually halt completely. This will happen in the coming days,” Falzon said in an interview with Times of Malta as drastic measures are taken to contain the virus.  The measure will not impact emergency surgeries, which will continue to be carried out, even if the number of COVID-19 cases increases dramatically, Falzon said.

 

As at 05.47 am

Malta reached its 18-patient mark in just a week since the first case was diagnosed, Health authorities announced yesterday. At the same time, a first patient completing a seemingly complete recovery offered a silver lining in a difficult situation.

Largely the general public seems to have responded well to directives to avoid being out unnecessarily, with main streets in Valletta and Sliema witnessing an unusual silence. Yet, social media users have highlighted a few notable exceptions to this, with the caravan park in Marsascala showing a worrying flurry of activity. Two people were fined by the authorities for failure to observe restrictions related to quarantine.

In a parallel development, Government announced yesterday that affected businesses, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industry, will be given a two-month tax break to soften the blow suffered by the situation. While welcoming this first set of measures, Malta’s Chamber of Commerce noted that it expected Government to be bolder and indicate clearly when it is going to dig into the country’s reserves to make good for the hardships companies are currently facing and enduring through no fault of theirs.

Meanwhile a number of constituted bodies, including the doctors’ union as well as the Nationalist Party have called for an immediate lockdown. So far, Prime Minister Robert Abela has resisted such calls insisting that ordering a complete lockdown of the country to halt the spread of the coronavirus is premature at this stage and would cause more harm than the virus itself.

Ci Consulta – BeInformedPro Monitoring service 

BeInformedPro

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