The Malta Independent 8 April 2020, Wednesday

Watch: Coronavirus - 17 new cases, including family of 3; total is 107; 'trend going up'

Shona Berger Monday, 23 March 2020, 12:24 Last update: about 15 days ago

Seventeen new Coronavirus cases were reported today, bringing the total to 107, Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said today in her daily briefing on Coronavirus cases.

Ten of the new cases are related to travelling, while the other seven cases were locally transmitted.

Gauci said that there were no other patients who recovered from the virus other than the two who tested negative last week. The 61-year-old man who is in intensive care because of pneumonia is still being monitored, with Gauci saying it will take longer for him to recover than other patients.

All the other patients are in a stable condition and they are being constantly monitored, both if they are at home or if they are at a hospital, she said.

She said that the trend is, as expected, going up. The health authorities, she added, had issued directives to limit the growth as much as possible, with new measures regarding shops coming into force today.

She said that around 20 per cent of the cases are now locally-transmitted, but this percentage will increase in the next few days.

She said it is not known when the peak will be reached. We will only know when the numbers start to drop, she said.

 

The ten cases linked to travelling are as follows:

A Maltese 61-year-old woman, who was not abroad but was in contact with a cluster of cases of people who had been abroad, was the first case in the last 24 hours, Gauci said.

A Maltese man, aged 19, who was in north Italy between 1 and 8 March and had been in quarantine since his return, developed symptoms on 19 March and tested positive.

Another person who tested positive was a Maltese woman, aged 56, was in England between 29 February and 17 March, with symptoms developing on 20 March, Gauci said. She had no contact with others except two who share the household.

An English man, aged 56 and resident in Malta, also tested positive after returning from abroad where he had been between 10 and 20 March. He had developed symptoms before flying back and so a contact tracing exercise is being carried out to see who was sitting in close proximity to him on the aircraft. He had no contact with others except a relative with who he shares a residence.

A couple, made up of a Maltese 32-year-old woman and a 30-year-old Italian man, resident in Malta. They had been to Madrid between 7 and 10 March, and developed symptoms on 15 March.

A 28-year-old Maltese man who lives in England, but returned before the airspace was closed, developed symptoms on 17 March and also tested positive, with a contact tracing exercise taking place,

A Irishwoman, aged 60, who had travelled abroad - various places - returned to Malta on 14 March and developed symptoms on 20 March. She had been in quarantine since her return, Gauci said.

Another case is that of a Maltese man aged 56 who was not abroad but came in contact with others who had travelled. The 10th case related to travelling is that of a 40-year-old Maltese man who developed symptoms on 16 March. He had been in contact with two otehr relatives who developed Coronavirus after travelling.

The seven cases of local transmission include a family of three persons who tested positive after two other relatives had contracted the disease earlier, bringing the number of this cluster to five. The three new cases reported today are a 14-year-old girl, a 21-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman.

The other four cases are a Maltese health worker, aged 32, who was in contact with others at work and members of her family who had contracted the disease; a Maltese 34-year-old man who developed symptoms on 16 March, a Ukrainian woman aged 38 who developed symptoms on 22 March and a 52-year-old Maltese woman who developed symptoms on 7 March.

Contact tracing is taking place in all cases, and this includes places of work to see who came in contact with the people who developed the disease.

Answering questions from the media, Gauci said that “the measures being taken have been done proportionally. Thus, if everyone follows the rules and abides by the measures we will be able to control the spread of the virus even further.”

“People who work in places such as factories are being tested through a number of screening measures such as taking the temperature of employees. However this is not always as effective because there have been a number of people who have tested positive but did not have fever, thus we recommended a screening questionnaire,” Gauci said.

She added that “a number of measures are also being taken within supermarkets. We want to make sure that overcrowding within supermakets does not happen, however if a person simply passes by another person who might be infected, this does not mean that the virus is transmitted.”

With regards to people who live alone and are not physically interacting with other people, Gauci said that “they encourage family members, friends or even neighbours who can accompany and keep in touch with such people through telephone calls or Skype.”

Such a situations need to be handled with care and this is very important as it could unfortunately affect one’s mental health. “We are strengthening our team as much as possible to handle such situations related to mental health. However when people call the helpline (111) we make sure to pass on any people who are struggling mentally to our psychologists or psychiatrists in order to give them the support they need.”

 

“A number of measures have also been taken within banks to safeguard the health of all employees,” Gauci said. She also made an appeal that nowadays everything can be done online and thus it is very important to make use of such services in order to avoid long ques and overcrowding of people in unnecessary places. 

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