During today’s COVID-19 briefing, Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci said that three new cases were identified during the past 24 hours, taking the country’s tally to 489. These resulted from 1,137, meaning that 40,493 swabs have been taken so far.
Six persons have since recovered, meaning that 65 active cases remain.
The cases were as follows:
A 27 year old and her young son, who had been previously quarantined after being in contact with a person identified as positive.
The third case concerns a Gozitan man who carried out the test despite having no symptoms. His contacts were also placed into quarantine.
Prof Gauci said that more than 34,000 persons have checked their symptoms through the health authorities’ specially-dedicated app.
The NSO today gave a summary detailing a comparison of Labour Force Data between average 2019 and end March 2020. This shows that the amount of persons working from home shot up from 12% to 33%, while 59% found their job was affected in one way or another.
40% are working less hours, with 78% of these attributing this to economic slowdown.
Press Conference by Economy Minister Silvio Schembri
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri is delivering the weekly press conference related to business measures. He said that while the current set of measures focused on safeguarding employment and indicated that in the coming weeks, Government will announce measures to support the economy in relaunching itself. Schembri claimed that Government was confident that these support measures were yielding the desired results with a number of jobs being saved. He also quoted a study published today and quoted by the BBC showing that Malta had that largest support package as a percentage of GDP.
With regard to the wage supplement, Silvio Schembri said that around 1,000 businesses applied during the past week, taking the tally to 19,885. The Minister said that by now the majority of business had by now applied. Schembri said that a number of employees had complained that they were not informed by their employer whether they are entitled to the wage supplement or not. For this reason, a personal letter will be sent to all beneficiaries certifying their entitlement to the wage support.
These applications covered 93,114 employees, with more than 80,000 among them being full timers.
Of these applications, 16,838 covered Annex A, that is those industry facing the biggest hit during the current pandemic.
The Minister insisted that Malta Enterprise had hastened the processing of these application and more than 11,759 have now been approved. These cover 42,447 full time and 9,766 employees being covered. This amounted to more than 33.6 million euro in payments. Schembri recalled that despite a gradual re-opening of businesses, these schemes have been rolled over for another two months, May and June.
Silvio Schembri said that 655 applications for teleworking were received, 181 reviewed, 157 were accepted. Total value disbursed reached EUR 145,000. With regards to support for quarantine leave, 1,632 applications,were received. Of these, 1,444 were processed, with a disbursement covering over 700,000 covering 2,025 employees.
Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia said that in the coming days an independent procedure will be setup to allow companies who have been refused support to appeal from the Corporation’s decision. He explained that an internal audit procedure is also in place.
Malta approaches another weekend, the second of May, with a total of 486 cases of coronavirus. The number of recoveries has been substantial in the past days, so much so that when excluding the five deaths, 68 cases remain pending at this stage. A week ago, on May Day, Prime Minister Robert Abela had announced an easing of social and economic restrictions, which came into force last Monday. A review of these measures is expected in two weeks time.
Five persons were each fined €100 during the continuous rounds Police and Environmental Health Officers are conducting to ensure that no gatherings in public places involving more than 4 persons take place, as per the legal notice issued
by Government. In the meantime, 2 persons were found to have breached obligatory quarantine during the 375 inspections carried out in the last 24 hours.
On Fridays, Government gives an update of initiatives taken to support business and employment. As usual, we will keep you updated through this page.