Live Update: Covid-19 Bulletin Malta – Friday 22nd May 2020

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Updated 1304

As from Monday, visits at homes for the elderly will be allowed again. This applies for both public and private home care centres. Visitors will be able to stay for a maximum of 15 minutes, and will be required to wear a mask or visor. Addressing a press briefing this morning, Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Parnis expressed his satisfaction that “no coronavirus-related death happened in Malta’s homes for the elderly.

Updated 1239

Prof Charmaine Gauci announced that one person recovered and one other became infected with coronavirus during the past 24 hours. The total number of cases stands at 600, with 125 being active. 469 persons have recovered.

1,560 tests were carried out yesterday, taking the total to 57,784.

246 healthcare workers are under preventive quarantine, 77 of them at Mater Dei.

Questioned on yesterday’s comments by doctors and nurses, who pointed out the recent increase in cases over the past few days, thereby calling for a postponement of the easing of restrictions, Prof Gauci said that although numbers are fluctuating, the number of cases when considering the increased testing had decreased. “In introducing the measures, we have been careful in assessing them, through a risk assessment and through the implementation of the necessary mitigation measures”.

She defined the measures being implemented as from today as carrying a “medium risk”. Having said that, Gauci instead that caution was required as the virus was still in the community.

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No ordinary Friday morning on the Maltese Islands, as a number of outlets, among them hotels and restaurants, hairdressing and barbering salons and outdoor pools are set to re-open after more than ten weeks of forced closure.

This Phase 2 of the easing of restrictions – to borrow a term from neighbouring Italy – has been met with mixed reactions, with the business and hospitality lobby groups insisting on the need to start gradually moving to normality, while on the other hand, a number of unions representing health workers arguing that it was too early for such a step.

Reactions on social media were also mixed, with a quick glance of the most popular groups showing diverse opinions with people enthusiastically awaiting the opportunity for their first hair treatment or dinner, while others pointing and the rising number of active cases in Malta to express their concern. The latter pointed out at yesterday’s daily update, in which another 15 coronavirus cases were identified, taking Malta’s tally to 599.

Today’s daily briefing will surely be awaited by many, especially after yesterday’s rumours that Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci had resigned. Speculation increased when it had to be her line Ministry and eventually the Prime Minister to issue denials. Prof Gauci eventually issued a statement on social media, expressing her commitment to her job and to the nation, in the afternoon. She described her privilege to serve her country in such difficult circumstances.

CDE news

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