Covid19 Malta Bulletin – Tuesday 17th March 2020

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Update 14:24

PN Leader Adrian Delia has announced a set of proposals to safeguard employment in the wake of the COVID19 crisis.

The Opposition has urged government to safeguard employees and their jobs. It proposed to set up a special fund to which businesses would not have access if employees were fired.

Delia called on government to cover 50% of salaries, noting that if jobs were lost money would still be spent on unemployment benefits. Discussions with banks should ensue to postpone loan repayments, while designing a new lending package with the government acting as a guarantee.

Update 12:05

Health Superintendent Prof Gauci has announced eight new cases of coronavirus in Malta. Malta now has 38 cases of patients with coronavirus.

These include a three-year old child, the son of one of the persons who had already been identified as positive. The other cases concern four Maltese nationals, two Italians and an English woman who lives in Malta.

In the latter case, the person had not travelled. She had gone to hospital with a fracture, and after displaying respiratory symptoms, the patient tested positive and was transferred to the Infectious Diseases Unit. The ward was then closed off. Prof Gauci noted that this person came in contact for a short time – of less than 15 minutes – with a healthcare professional who had earlier tested positive for the virus.

Another of the cases listed above also appears to be locally transmitted as the man had neither travelled nor been in contact with persons who had done so. Prof Gauci added that while the authorities were investigating, this person attended a particular gym.

Update 12:03

A number of media-related service companies, including advertising agencies, news providers, marketing, public relations, design and videography have written to the Prime Minister insisting on the need of urgent measures to protect their industry.

The 37 signatories argued that their business was very fragile and unless immediate action was taken, they could be here today and gone tomorrow.

Update 10:13 

The press briefing on the latest news regarding COVID-19 will be held at Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Directorate today at noon.

 

Freedom of movement will be further curtailed as from midnight as restaurants, bars, cinemas, tombola halls and local clubs have been directed to shut their doors in the latest directives issued by Government to curtail the spread of the virus in Malta. Deliveries and take-aways will not be impacted.

These decisions were described by PM Abela as necessary to avoid, at least for the time being, the need for a complete lockdown.

Earlier in the day, health authorities announced the biggest spike in new cases so far, with nine cases taking the total to 30. Two patients have so far recovered. Moreover, these cases included the first three instances of local transmission.

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 other health care workers who had been previously identified as positive.

Stressing the need for cooperation by all, the Prime Minister expressed his disappointment at those who continued to congregate in public places or failed to observe mandatory self-quarantine, with the applicable fine for ignoring the latter being increased three-fold.

In parallel developments, two of Malta’s prominent business organisations, the Chamber of Commerce and the SME Chamber have called for increased and more direct support to business in view of the massive impact these directives are having on their members. Around the continent, European governments have announced an unprecedented set of measures to support business. You can read more about this in our separate story.

CoVid19

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