Updated 1304 – One new case, seven recoveries
There was one new, symptomatic and sporadic case of coronavirus in Malta in the past 24 hours, while seven have recovered. This means that the number of active cases has gone down to its lowest since the number of recoveries has been provided by the authorities, at 15.
More than 1,100 persons were tested yesterday.
Updated 1130 – Government extends moratorium on bank loans
The Malta Independent reports that in view of the uncertainty surrounding the speed of the economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential prolonged effects on output and employment that such uncertainty may generate, the Minister responsible for public health, in consultation with the Minister for Finance and Financial Services has extended the period for applications for a moratorium to 30 September 2020.
Updated 0829 – Newspaper Review
Malta Today quotes Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli who said that the authorities are expecting 700,000 tourists by the end of the year. Last year, Malta attracted 2.7 million tourists.
The Times reports on special technology including heat-sensing cameras installed at the airport as it welcomes the first tourists since it was shut down during the pandemic. New protocols have also been introduced for inbound and outbound passengers.
L-Orizzont reports that Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi was found in breach of privilege by the House Speaker over claims the former Prime Minister knew of the Caruana Galizia murder plot. Azzopardi, however, refuses to withdraw the statement.
The Independent quotes Finance Minister Edward Scicluna who categorically denied claims that the government is seeking an extension on the Moneyval deadline. The minister is part of the task-force implementing recommendations against financial crime.
In-Nazzjon carries an interview with PN secretary general Francis Zammit Dimech to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the paper. The first edition was published under the title ‘In-Nazzjon Tagħna’ on July 1 1970.
The Times says that the court declared that was enough evidence to place five traffic police officers under a bill of indictment. The accused superintendent, two inspectors, and two sergeants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The Independent says that 32 police officers from the Traffic Unit are to be arraigned by summons over allegations of misconduct. Four magistrates will preside over the proceedings in court.
Malta Today follows the arraignment in court of traffic police officers accused of overtime abuse. Investigators said that 20 out of 27 tracking devices on motorcycles were found not functioning.
L-Orizzont says that the €100 vouchers announced in the government’s regeneration plan will start being sent out from the coming week. The paper says 25,000 businesses will benefit directly from the system.
The final step towards the return of normality takes place today with the ending of the Public Health Emergency and the re-opening of Malta’s International Airport to a number of destinations, raising up hopes for hotels, catering establishments and retail outlets that sales might slightly pick up after the challenges of the past months.
In view of the re-opening of the airport, local doctors yesterday made a strong argument for maximum precautions to be followed. The Medical Association of Malta and the Association of Public Health Medicine published expert advice for people to make up their own minds about their risk tolerance, aware that the risk of illness is never zero, conscious that the economy needs to work and in the knowledge that people expect clear medical advice.
There were no new cases of coronavirus yesterday.
Meanwhile, Government announced yesterday that it will issuing the coronavirus to all residents from next week to boost domestic demand post pandemic lockdown. The system will operate through an app used by the businesses on their smartphone or tablet. The vouchers, red and a blue depending on who they are eligible, will feature a QR code which the 25,000 eligible businesses must scan to confirm their validity.