The Malta Independent 20 June 2021, Sunday

12 new Covid-19 cases found; 51% of over 30 cohort vaccinated or registered for vaccination

Friday, 7 May 2021, 12:05 Last update: about 2 months ago

12 new cases of Covid-19 were found overnight and one patient has died while positive for the virus, the health authorities said on Friday.

More details were given by Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci during her weekly briefing.

The number of active cases now stands at 252, after 19 people recovered, and the total number of cases so far is 30,432.

There was one death, a 95-year-old who passed away at Mater Dei Hospital, in the last 24 hours related to COVID-19. The death toll now stands at 417.

ADVERTISEMENT

A total of 29,763 people have recovered from the virus.

1,956 swab tests were performed over the past 24 hours, for a total of 365,902 so far.

The authorities said that, until Thursday, 365,902 doses of the vaccine had been administered. From these, 115,333 have been fully vaccinated.

Gauci confirmed that the vaccination process is going well, with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine now being used as well.

In fact the out of latest age group to be eligible for the vaccine, meaning those over 30 years of age, 51% are either already vaccinated or have registered to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, 59% of those over the age of 40 have been vaccinated, while 95% of those over 60 have now been vaccinated as well.

Gauci said that the number of cases is now decreasing, and this is thanks to the vaccination programme in particular.  The seven-day moving average of cases now stands at 20, with a positivity rate of just 1.1%.

The majority of the cases found remain ones traceable to the UK variant, while there are now 5 cases of the South African variant and 22 cases of the Brazilian variant. Till now no cases of the Indian variant have been detected.

Four cases are currently receiving treatment in Mater Dei's Intensive Therapy Unit. 

The students' cluster from last week continued being monitored and another 3 cases related to this cluster were found.

This was the first week were there no cases were found at old peoples homes.

Gauci said that the majority of cases of the past week were traced to households and to imported cases. In fact, 24 cases were traced to household clusters, while 20 were imported cases.

14 cases were traced to social gatherings, while another 13 were traced to educational institutions. 10 were found in institutions, while another four were found in workplaces.  No cases were traced to sports or similar activities.

The majority of new cases are in the 20 - 24 years age group, while the average age of cases in the past week was of 37.7.  Four people died while positive for Covid-19 in the past week, Gauci said.

Gauci observed that even though case numbers remain low, people should still get tested if they feel any symptoms of the virus.

During the last week only one passenger from Italy who arrived in Malta, tested positive. 

The Health Superintendent explaind that the removal of certain measures is studied to keep cases as low as possible and people should respect all mitigation measures to keep the best safe situation possible.

Anyone over 30 years of age is encouraged to register for vaccination as soon as possible on www.vaccin.gov.mt.

Asked when she expects people aged 20 and over to start applying for the vaccine, Gauci said that the focus for the time being is the vaccine roll-out for those aged 30 and over, as well as other age groups. Health authorities will continue with the current roll-out and consideration will then be given to over 20s in due time.

Herd immunity will consider not only people who have received both doses of the vaccine, but also those who have received a single dose. One dose of the vaccine will provide one with a good sense of immunity and thus will be included in the consideration of herd immunity, she confirmed.

Asked if children will be unable to travel with their parents who have the vaccine certificate, Gauci said that children will be able to join their parents without the need of a vaccine passport, so long as they provide a negative PCR test.

Contact sports for adolescents aged 17 and under will be halted until 28th June as it poses a higher risk to a spread of the virus and one cannot risk a situation where classes could go into quarantine because of a positive case, Gauci said. Non-contact sports will resume on 10th May to ensure that those aged 17 or under are kept active.

Although English language schools will be allowed to re-open on 1st June, the opening of sixth forms has not been announced in order that scholastic exams, which will take place in tandem with the opening of ELT schools, will not be jeopardized.

Gauci confirmed that the majority of cases with the Brazilian variant originated from the cluster of 11 foreign University students that was identified during last week’s health briefing. Three cases originated separately from this cluster, while the remaining cases originated sporadically.

Asked about the immunity of the vaccines, Gauci said that the vaccines will provide at least 6 months of protection and that studies regarding the immunity of the vaccines are being followed closely. In line with the findings of these studies and any drop in immunity of Maltese citizens, Gauci said that a third booster dose will be administered.

She denied that night clubs will reopen this June, since they are defined as mass activities.

Should a vaccinated individual come into contact with a positive case, the individual is required to go into full 14 day quarantine. The only exception to this rule is fully-vaccinated health care workers, who will need to go into quarantine for a five-day period and be allowed out with a negative PCR test.

If a person is fully vaccinated and has a passport certificate in hand, they will not need to provide a negative PCR test to travel, since vaccination is the best form of protection against the virus, Gauci confirmed.

She said that bars and band clubs will work with protocols when they re-open on 7th June and will adopt a ‘restaurant concept’, whereby customers are seated at a table rather than being given the liberty to move around the establishment freely.

  • don't miss