The Malta Independent 3 June 2020, Wednesday

Watch - Coronavirus briefing - 14 new cases, total reaches 227

Rebekah Cilia Sunday, 5 April 2020, 13:25 Last update: about 3 months ago

14 new Coronavirus cases were registered in Malta in the last 24 hours, and all were the result of local transmission, Public Health Superintendent, Charmaine Gauci said on Sunday afternoon.

This brings the total to 227 confirmed cases since the first case was registered on 7 March.

On Saturday, 656 tests were carried out, Gauci said, adding that the strategy is to continue testing as many people as possible. The increase in the number of swabs gives a new total of over 10,000 tests having been carried out so far.

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All the new patients are in good condition, whilst of the three that were already in the ITU, their condition has remained the same. The man who was in a critical condition remained so.

Another four patients are in Mater Dei Hospital, whilst there are 20 patients in St Thomas Hospital, eight patients in Sir Paul Boffa Hospital and one in Mount Carmel Hospital.

Of the 14 cases, 11 cases were male, with Gauci noting that the local statistics show that more males have contracted the virus, until now. Three of the new cases were female. The ages of the new cases were one between 15 to 20 years, five which are aged between 20 to 30, two aged between 30 to 40, two aged between 40 to 50, three cases aged 60 to 70 and one person who is 86 years old.

The 86 year old patient is reported to be in good condition.

Gauci said that most vulnerable persons should have now received a letter stating so. If one may feel they fall under the category of vulnerable people and have not yet received the letter, they can call on the helpline 111 or send an email on [email protected]

Following questions by this newsroom, Gauci said the list of vulnerable people was drawn up after an assessment was made, taking into consideration that these people, should they contract the virus, may have greater complications.

Gauci also noted that there could be other people who are receiving treatment privately, and appealed that they contact the Authorities. As evidence for employers, Gauci said that the letter received is sufficient.

Sustained decrease in cases would mean the worst is over

Questioned what numbers could indicate that Malta is out of the eye of the storm, Gauci said cases are still increasing but at some point, which is still unknown, a plateau will be reached, followed by a sustained decrease. Only then can we say that the worst is over.

Gauci said that the list of Coronavirus patients is being evaluated as are the negative tests that have resulted. These results are being checked and in the coming days, the patients who have recovered will be announced.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is being used depending on the exposure of the person, to control the use, to ensure enough is available for what is to come.

According to the latest local statistics, the reproductive value is 1.5 but the situation is always fluctuating and is constantly being updated.

More cases from open centres

Asked about the overcrowding in open centres, as well as the language barrier, Gauci said that work has been carried out with NGOs so the message is transmitted to those who do not speak Maltese and to those who may come from a different culture.

Gauci also confirmed that new cases stemmed from open centres and a risk assessment is being carried out to see who they were in contact with.

The fact that these people come forward to get tested is a clear indication that the message is being transmitted, Gauci said, adding that the work will not stop to ensure that the message is transmitted to everyone, no matter what age or nationality.

A clear procedure has been set out for those living with vulnerable people and many employers have already provided teleworking possibilities to aid such people.

How long Malta will be in this situation depends on the public, Gauci noted, adding that cooperation from the public is essential for the control of this virus.

Many tests are being carried out and for most cases, the results are issued in a short time. Technology is being evaluated so as quicker results may be issued.

As regards antibody testing, Gauci said the authorities set up a working group to verify when such tests should be done. She explained that immunity takes six to eight weeks to develop, and that is why timing is important. The group on who this test will be performed is also being evaluated.

This immunity test is being evaluated in many countries, whilst the results need to be validated to ensure the results show a realistic portrayal of the situation

The Prime Minister said this morning that people should go out for a walk but Gauci said that people need to go out only if it is essential and for work, and even then social distancing needs to be employed. Those noted as vulnerable, need to go out only if essential.

Gauci appealed for anyone who has any of the symptoms, including those which are respiratory-related or diarrhoea, to call helpline 111.

She also noted that whilst today is a Sunday and the weather is nice, we should stay inside to avoid contracting the virus, which could be a risk for everyone.

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