The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

Malta's Covid-19 reproduction number now stands at 1.39 – Vincent Marmara

Albert Galea Wednesday, 5 August 2020, 15:03 Last update: about 2 months ago

Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction number has now exceeded 1, and stands at 1.39, statistician Vincent Marmara told The Malta Independent on Wednesday. 

The reproduction number of the virus is one of the key figures which countries across the world have been trying to reduce ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The aim for countries has been to reduce the ratio to a level of 1 – which would mean that one person would transmit the virus to one other person. 

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Malta’s reproduction number has not exceeded 1 since last May, but a spike in cases which has seen the number of active cases rise to 249 – even though over 100 of those are migrants who have no bearing on local transmission of the virus – in the space of two weeks. 

Marmara said that from a mathematical perspective, one needs to consider when to draw the line and start a new cycle of the pandemic. 

He noted that with there being increased local transmission of the virus, and transmission which is not merely restricted to clusters, it is now time to consider the past two weeks as a new cycle. 

Marmara said that on the basis that decisions have been taken on mass events, one hopes that the r-factor and number of cases does not increase.  If the increase does continue at the current rate, then more decisions will need to be taken to control the pandemic, Marmara said. 

One must take things into perspective, he said. 

The rate of deaths in Malta remains very low, while the number of positive cases against the number of tests carried out per day is still less than 1% which is lower than targets set out by the World Health Organisation. 

It remains important to follow authority’s instructions in the wearing of masks and application of social distancing, he said.

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