The Malta Independent 17 May 2021, Monday

WATCH: 27 Covid-19 cases found in lowest case count since September; vaccine uptake remains high

Friday, 16 April 2021, 12:37 Last update: about 1 month ago

27 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Friday in what is the lowest case count registered since 30 September.

Public Health chief Charmaine Gauci will be addressing her weekly briefing to give a breakdown about the Covid-19 situation shortly.

Two people meanwhile have passed away while positive for the virus. Both were 67-year-old men, and both passed away at Mater Dei Hospital.

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30 people meanwhile have recovered from the virus, meaning that the number of active cases currently stands at 583.

1,883 swab tests were carried out in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of swab tests up to 842,208 so far.

Hospital numbers are down again, with 69 people currently receiving treatment in various hospitals across the island.

9 of those are receiving treatment in Mater Dei’s Intensive Therapy Unit.  Another 8 are in the hospital’s Infectious Diseases Unit while a further 21 are in different wards at the hospital.

In terms of other hospitals: 11 are at Karin Grech Hospital, 9 are at St. Thomas Hospital, 9 are at Boffa Hospital, 1 is at Mount Carmel Hospital and another is at Gozo General Hospital.

Meanwhile, there are no cases at the Good Samaritan Long Term Care Facility – which is the hospital which was being used for cases from elderly homes.

The source of case clusters between 5 and 11 April showed that household clusters remain the highest.

101 cases derived from households – however 39 cases were also imported from abroad. Another 37 were related to workplaces, 29 were related to social gatherings, 15 were related to institutions, 2 were related to education, and none were related to sports.

45 of the current active cases are in Gozo, while the remaining 543 are in Malta.

264,658 doses of the vaccine were administered as of Thursday, with 80,671 people have received both doses of the vaccine.

Malta has had 29,860 cases of Covid-19. 28,872 of those have recovered, while 405 have died.

Answering questions asked by this newsroom, Gauci pointed out that the pilot project which they announced, whereby frontliners who have been fully vaccinated quarantining for 5 days instead of 14 when they come in contact with a positive case, was doing well and that they will be evaluating it further before deciding whether to expand it to other cohorts.

Regarding sports, Gauci said that "it is important for people to continue performing physical activities, but right now, organised sport for now won't open. But we will perform an exercise according to our risk assessment and open these activities in due time."

Gauci also announced that no clusters related to school were identified during this week.

Asked about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the distribution of which was temporarily paused by European and American medicines authorities to analyse extremely rare cases of blood clots, Gauci said that Malta is "always following what these international authorities are saying along with the advice of the EMA."

Gauci said that there are no answers yet as to how effective the vaccination programme in general has been, but "what we know is that when you take the first dose, you already have a certain amount of immunity, as we are seeing with the impact of the first dose."

The Health Superintendent noted that the country is doing random genome testing and as of yet, "we had no case of the Brazil variant, we only had 4 cases of the South African variant during this whole time, and, as we know, the majority of cases now are of the UK variant."

Regarding vaccination uptake, the Health Superintendent also said that hesitancy to take the vaccine is rather low.

Regarding the Green Pass, Gauci said that it is an important topic and discussions are ongoing as it would make sure that more "secure travelling" would take place in terms of reassuring that someone does not have Covid-19.

Gauci also pointed out that the promotion of mass events is not breaking the law, but that the Health Authorities have not given them the blessing to organise such events. 

"Regarding the wedding dates, Gauci said that the health authorities made a risk assessment and noted that these could start to happen from 1 June. We are also updating the standards of those measures we are relaxing, such as for those shops which are going to open," Gauci said.

The Health Superintendent was also asked whether the fact that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been delayed will affect the goals of herd immunity for Malta.

"These would be planned on the vaccines that were already available. So if the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is resumed, it will make the process of vaccination even faster," she said.

 

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