The Malta Independent 19 April 2021, Monday

After big decrease in cases, Malta’s Covid r-factor is now 0.46 – Marmara

Albert Galea Sunday, 4 April 2021, 07:30 Last update: about 15 days ago

Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction rate has continued to decrease, now standing at 0.46, statistician Vincent Marmara told The Malta Independent on Sunday in his weekly video blog.

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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A total of 412 new cases of the virus were found in the past week – a massive decrease over figures reported in previous weeks.

In fact, 1,021 cases were reported the week before, and 1,725 were reported in the week before that. The highest number of cases found in a week was 2,098, three weeks ago.

In fact, the last time less than 412 cases were found in a week was at the beginning of October last year – when 210 cases were found in the week preceding 4 October. 442 cases were found in the week after, and since then, the number of cases found has always been higher.

Another major decrease was in the number of tests which returned a positive result: only 2.6% of the tests conducted in the last week came back positive – significantly less than the 4.7% last week and the peak of 7.4% three weeks ago.

Like with the number of cases found – the last time this statistic was this low was in October.

Deaths have decreased as well, although not as significantly, with 13 people passing away over the past seven days, compared to 18 people who died in each week for the past three weeks.

The number of recoveries was lower than in previous weeks, with 1,565 new recoveries found – but it was almost four times the amount of new cases found, which is why there has been such a drastic decrease in the number of active cases in Malta.

The number of vaccine doses administered meanwhile has now surpassed 200,000, with 12% of the population fully vaccinated and over 30% receiving at least one dose.

When putting all this data together, Malta’s r-factor currently stands at 0.46, Marmara said.

Giving an overview of the situation in other European countries, Marmara noted that cases in the UK has remained stable, cases in France and Spain have increased slightly, while there has been a stronger increase in cases in Germany. Cases in Italy, meanwhile, have decreased.

In Spain, cases continued to increase, while the numbers have remained stable for several weeks in France. Italy saw numbers remain stable over the past two weeks, while in Germany the number of new cases continued to increase.

Concluding, Marmara said that given that the public must ensure not to make the same mistakes of past holiday periods – where increased social gatherings had resulted in an increase in cases – and continue to follow the mitigation measures set out by health authorities.

He said that even though the number of cases have decreased, it is important to continue following the current measures to ensure that they do not increase again. “We must remain careful, even if we are in a holiday period,” he concluded.

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