The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

Malta becomes ‘country of high concern’ in EU Covid-19 risk assessment

Albert Galea Thursday, 24 September 2020, 16:26 Last update: about 29 days ago

Malta has been defined as a country of high concern in the European Centre for Disease Control’s latest rapid risk assessment on the Covid-19 situation in Europe.

Joining Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Spain, the risk in Malta is assessed as “high” for the general population and as “very high” for vulnerable persons.

Trends of high concern include high or increasing notification rates in older cases and, consequently, an increased proportion of hospitalised and severe cases.

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The assessment comes as Malta has 680 active cases of the virus, with 2,898 people having tested positive for the virus since it reached Maltese shores on 7 March.

There has been concern however in recent days after the virus managed to infiltrate some homes for the elderly, with the St. Joseph Home for the Elderly in Fgura alone having 113 residents positive for Covid-19.

Malta’s death toll had risen quickly, currently standing at 27 after two more people died on Wednesday.  Both of the victims were residents in elderly care homes.

The spike in deaths – 12 deaths have been registered in the last ten days – has seen Malta rise to third in the EU in terms of deaths per 100,000 people recovered over the last two weeks.

Spain has recorded 3 deaths per 100,000 people over that period, Romania has recorded 2.7, while Malta is next at 2.2.

“The improvements that have been made in case management, supportive treatment and care are still not enough to avoid severe disease and death in a large proportion of vulnerable patients”, the report reads.

“Implementing stricter NPIs, which proved to be effective in controlling the epidemic in all EU/EEA countries and the UK in spring 2020, appears to be the only available strategy that may be able to ensure a moderate (as opposed to high) impact of the disease on individuals and on healthcare provision”, it continues.

“Therefore, in these countries, even with a timely and strict implementation of NPIs, the overall risk of COVID-19 is assessed as high for the general population and very high for vulnerable individuals.”

 

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