The Malta Independent 25 June 2022, Saturday

Watch: 103 cases and four more deaths; Charmaine Gauci delivers weekly Covid-19 briefing

Friday, 26 March 2021, 12:29 Last update: about 2 years ago

103 new cases of Covid-19 were found over the past 24 hours, and four patients have died, Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci annoubnced in her weekly Covid-19 briefing.

The patients who died were four men, aged 68, 72, 73 and 80. All four died at Mater Dei Hospital while positive for Covid-19. 

The death toll has now reached 382.

There are now 1,853 active cases. The total number of cases so far has reached 28,715.

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332 people have recovered, for a total of 26,480 recoveries.

2,252 swab tests were performed over the past 24 hours, for a total of 797,899 so far.

Until Thursday, 166, 104 doses of the vaccine had been administered, of which 48,933 were second doses.

Gauci said that the decrease in cases reflects the measures that are currently in place. She noted that the number of active cases is now below 2,000 again.

The situation in hospitals has also improved as a result of the measures and the vaccination drive.

Situation in hospitals

There are currently 20 patients at Mater Dei Hospital’s Intensive Therapy Units, a significant decrease from recent weeks. There are 6 patients at the Infectious Diseases Unit and 64 in other wards at the hospital.

Gauci said there are four patients at the Gozo General Hospital, including two in ITU.

There are also 14 patients at Boffa Hospital, 15 at St Thomas Hospital, 4 at Karin Grech, 14 at the Good Samaritan facility and 3 at Mount Carmel.

The situation inside care homes has continued to improve as a result of the vaccination of elderly people. Last week, only 5 people and 2 staff members tested positive.

The 7-day moving average is now 146.

UK variant

Gauci also gave updates regarding the UK variant, which is slowly replacing the ‘old’ version of the Coronavirus. The authorities are still following the situation through genetic sequencing carried out on random samples.

On 13 March, 75% of new cases were related to the UK variant. That number rose to 79.2% on 18 March and decreased slightly to 76% on 23 March.

“The implications of this is that we need to remain vigilant because we know that this is more transmissible,” Gauci said.  

“The fact that the numbers are decreasing is a result of measures in place, not because the virus is going away, so it is important that we keep observing the measures.”

She called on the public to be responsible next week, in view of the public holidays. “This is the only way in which we can control the situation until we vaccinate more people.”

Gauci noted that some 86 fines were issued last week over breaches of the 2-household rule. She appealed to the public to follow this regulation – “if people need to come to your house, make sure that they are from only one household.”

Asked by this newsroom regarding deaths of elderly aged over 80, since the vaccination of cohort has been complete, Gauci said that the vaccine doses would be protecting people from complications and deaths, but some still contract the virus.

"We know that the efficacy is very high, but it is not 100%. So, there could be very few cases that they would still get sick and have complications."

The Health Superintendent also noted that there were 6 people who took two doses of the vaccine yet still succumbed to the virus.

Gauci also pointed out that the effects of the measures are being seen, with cases decreasing every day. "The greatest issue that affects this pandemic is how many people are meeting together and how many people are following the measures in place. When there are stringent measures, you would have a decrease in cases in the community."

"As we can see today, we are reporting a decrease in cases. It all depends on how many people follow the measures."

Regarding a pill that is being manufactured against Covid-19 by Pfizer, which could provide treatment against Covid-19, Gauci said that this could help in reducing a person's severe reactions to the virus, but the vaccine is what will stops it from entering your body.

Gauci also reported that there are 7,011 persons who are currently in quarantine.

  

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