Malta-24 – News Briefing – Sunday 21st June 2020

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Updated 1244

The Health department said there was one new coronavirus case in the past 24 hours. As no persons recovered, Malta’s tally of active cases has climbed to 40.

Updated 0945 – Malta’s R-Number stands at 0.58

The Malta Independent on Sunday reports that Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction number currently stands at 0.58 according to statistician Vincent Marmara. With 18 new cases of the virus being found over the course of last week, Marmara explained that there was a slight decrease over the previous week, when 20 cases were found.  The report on the same paper explains how around half of the cases found in the past week were all part of the same cluster – an important factor when calculating the reproduction number of the virus.

Updated 0911 – Newspaper Review

Malta Today reveals that the middleman in the Caruana Galizia assassination, Melvin Theuma, was negotiating his presidential pardon in exchange for recordings weeks before he was actually arrested in November last year.

The Sunday Times reports on claims by murder suspect Yorgen Fenech who said that former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat discussed Melvin Theuma twice in 2019 and asked him whether chief of staff Keith Schembri featured in Melvin Theuma’s recordings.

It-Torċa says that nominated Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà will face grilling by the parliamentary committee for public appointments questioning on Monday. The paper says that the Opposition has not sent any questions.

Kullħadd says that PN Leader Adrian Delia is attempting to change the party’s name to the Popular Party and that its representatives on the Electoral Commission have resisted the registration of a new party by the same name filed in May.

The Independent on Sunday carries an interview with PN secretary general Francis Zammit Dimech who said that the party’s ‘main asset’ in its outreach programme is leader Adrian Delia, who was elected by grassroot supporters.

Il-Mument claims that Prime Minister Robert Abela knew about the allegations surrounding the Montenegro wind farm deal as early as November. Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said that Abela’s hands are tied.

Illum says that Prime Minister Robert Abela is considering an early general election following the latest allegations of corruption. The paper says that Abela warned that if anyone close to government is found guilty, they will be expelled.

The Sunday Times publishes survey results about voting intentions which finds that 37 percent of people are undecided. Just as many said they would vote for the Labour Party, opening a 23 percentage point lead over the Nationalist Party.

Malta Today carries a statement by the police which said that the Montenegro wind farm deal has been under investigation for some time. The police said that the probe was being conducted in collaboration with Europol.

Il-Mument quotes a Facebook post by Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo who warned that corruption allegations can ultimately lead to an ‘economic covid-21’ if Malta is grey-listed next year.

The Independent on Sunday says that levels of air pollution from car emissions have remained consistent since mid-March even as coronavirus restrictions start to be lifted. Pollution levels are lower than begore the outbreak.

It-Torċa speaks to General Workers Union secretary for the Maritime and Aviation section, Sandro Vella, who said that the sectors in Malta have bucked the international trend and ‘thousands of jobs’ have been saved from the pandemic.

The Montenegro wind farm revelations continued to dominate the Maltese political scene throughout Saturday. The Police said in a brief statement that they had already started investigating the issue in question in collaboration with Europol and with the assistance of other competent authorities. They insisted that these investigations had started “prior to the media reports of the past hours.”

Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo fuelled the debate further describing it as a “political eclipse”. Writing on Facebook, Bartolo said that “the fight against money laundering and corruption does not only need to be made in the name of honesty, but because it also makes economic sense”.

Opposition leader Adrian Delia piled the pressure on the PM saying that despite expressing “disgust”, he has not sacked former Minister Konrad Mizzi for his involvement in this scandal.

Covid-19 news

The Health Department said that there was just one new case in the past 24 hours, a sporadic symptomatic case presented at the casualty department. Three people recovered, meaning active cases are back below 40.

Malta’s case tally has now gone up to 664 with 616 recovering.

CDE News

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