The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

As cases increase, Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction number now 1.52 – Vincent Marmara

Sunday, 18 October 2020, 07:16 Last update: about 3 days ago

Amidst a record spike in cases, Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction number has from 1.18 to 1.52 in the past week, statistician Vincent Marmara told The Malta Independent on Sunday in his exclusive weekly video blog on the Covid-19 situation in Malta.

The reproduction factor 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.


The reproduction number is based on a variety of factors, such as the source of new cases – for instance, whether they are imported or whether they are part of particular clusters – and the amount of testing being carried out.

Marmara explained that the r-factor has risen to such a number after a record-high of 701 cases of Covid-19 was found in the past week.

This is a significant increase on the 442 cases reported last week, and the 210 cases reported the week prior.

The number of positive cases when compared to the number of tests has also increased to nearly record heights, now standing at 4.1% when compared to 2.7% last week.

Only the second week of the pandemic, when far less tests were carried out, saw a higher percentage of tests return positive results – when 4.2% of the tests carried out turned out to be positive.   

The above calculations do not include the 204 cases from 2,885 tests which were reported on Saturday.

Delving into some details about the situation overseas, Marmara said France has continued to report substantial increases, to the point that its first wave now seems very low when compared to the current number of cases it is experiencing.

Spain and Italy have both continued to see further increases in cases, as has Germany. The situation in the United Kingdom meanwhile has exploded, to the point that the number of cases being reported once again dwarfs what was reported in the early stages of the pandemic.

Marmara said that the numbers make it clear that pandemic is growing in a number of countries abroad too.

He noted that there are now new restrictions in place – referring to the restrictions announced on Friday night, which made it mandatory to wear masks outdoors and which imposes bars to close at 11pm – which must be followed.

He said that the use of masks is especially imperative in order to restrict the spread of the virus in the community, and encouraged people once again to follow the recommendations issued by health authorities.


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