LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese Parliament has started to debate a constitutional reform which seeks to increase the number and proportion of women in Parliament with the help of a corrective mechanism.
According to the proposed mechanism, the number of MPs of the under-represented sex will be increased until they represent no more than 40%. Up to 12 MPs can be appointed through this mechanism.
The additional MPs will be divided among government and opposition according to the general election results. The best-performing unsuccessful election candidates will be appointed, with co-option as a last resort if not enough candidates of the under-represented sex are fielded by the relevant political party.
Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela said that the proposed mechanism will serve as a catalyst to increase the political participation of women.
The Nationalist Opposition confirmed that will be voting in favour of the amendments. The support of a number of Opposition MPs is required since the reform forms part of the Maltese Constitution.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta has received its first consignment of Moderna anti-covid vaccine late on Sunday evening, four days after the European Medicines Agency approved the vaccine.
Malta is the first EU country and amongst the first countries that received the first consignment of the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine arrived from Brussels on an Air Malta flight, KM423
Maltese Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the vaccines bought from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNtech will give the possibility to jab all vulnerable people until May and for herd immunity to be reached by the beginning of Summer.
In a statement, Maltàs national airline, Air Malta said that more consignments are expected in the coming weeks and that over the last few months Air Malta has been preparing to carry such consignments by getting the necessary certifications and updating its operational processes and procedures. Such changes have also enabled the Airline to use the passengers’ cabin to carry humanitarian and medical equipment and supplies in an expedited but safe manner thus maximising capacity of the Airlinès fleet.
Meanwhile, all schools in Malta re-opened this morning following an industrial action on Thursday and Friday. The strike was ordered by the union representing the teachers due to COVID-19 health concerns.
In another development, the national association representing the doctors will convene on Monday evening following a government’s decision to dismiss a public health consultant responsible for the coordination of the public health response, who had recommended caution on the consequences of re-opening schools. The Medical Association condemned the removal “without reservations” and added that the public health consultant had the courage to urge caution.
So far, Malta registered a total of 14,529 cases of COVID-19; 2,360 are still active, 11,936 patients have recovered while 233 others have died.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The health authorities in Malta confirmed a new record of Covid-19 cases since the begining of the pandemic. 245 new coronavirus cases were registered overnight. The number of infections went up by 54 cases from the previous day. 2,221 cases remain active. Meanwhile, two Covid-19 related deaths were reported earlier on Saturday morning. The pandemic has claimed 232 lives so far.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The majority of government schoolteachers in Malta did not turn up following a two day strike ordered by the Malta Union of Teachers after talks with the government broke down late on Wednesday.
Malta registered 224 cases on Wednesday, the highest ever for one day since the pandemic, a reflection of the post-Christmas surge. For the next two weeks, Malta will most likely register around 200 Covid-19 cases a day, Public Health Consultant Dr Tanya Melillo has predicted.
The Eduaction Minister Justyne Caruana said that “a few hours ahead of the reopening of schools we were faced by an industrial action which ordered teachers not to report for work,” adding that she understood that this caused an inconvenience to the parents and that the government is committed to find a solution.
In some cases parents have been asked to take their children back home since there were not enough teachers.
However, the Malta Union of Teachers declared that the strike was a massive success. It called on the health and educational authorities to analyse the situation of the pandemic so that educators can return to physical learning with all measures included.
The union condemned the Education Minister for insisting that schools will reopen as usual.
The sharp increase in coronavirus cases in Malta also prompted Church schools to re-open with online classes for this week. The situation will be assessed before deciding whether to extend the measures until Wednesday 13 January.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The variant of the Covid-19 originally found in the United Kingdom had been identified in Malta. Maltese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne has confirmed the arrival of the UK Covid-19 variant to Malta. This was also confirmed by the Superintendent of Public Health, Prof. Charmaine Gauci, who announced that three cases have been found in Malta.
She explained that 2 cases were foreigners, after travelling to Malta from the United Kingdom. The third case, however, is a 75-year-old Maltese woman. Investigations are ongoing as to how she contracted this strain.
The variant is about 70% more contagious than the original version of the virus but whoever is infected will have the same effects as one would have if infected with the original virus.
Over the past 24 hours, the Maltese health authorities registered 109 new COVID-19 cases while 1,434 cases remain active. Three individuals aged between 67 and 87 are the latest victims of the pandemic, which until now claimed 219 lives.
The first jab of the anti-Covid vaccine in Malta was given today. Rachel Grech, a nurse that works at the Infectious Disease Unit, Mater Dei Hospital, was the first person to be vaccinated. She was vaccinated in the presence of Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Dr Chris Fearne.
Robert Abela insisted that although Malta has the vaccine, the pandemic is not over, and people still have to abide by the restrictions.
Rachel Grech appealed to the Maltese and Gozitans that it is important that everyone takes the vaccine.
The first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Malta on Saturday morning on a Cessna plane carrying around 10,000 doses. The doses were flown from a Pfizer factory in Puurs Belgium through Amsterdam.
Meanwhile, the local health authorities confirmed that four more patients have died. Malta ha registered 210 deaths due to COVID-19.
La VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta recieved the first consignment of Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday morning A Cessna plane with around 10,000 doses landed at the Malta International Airport at around 11am. The doses were flown from a Pfizer factory in Puurs Belgium through Amsterdam.
Malta is set to start its mass vaccination programme on Sunday.
Around 600,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech will be shipped to Malta over the coming weeks and months. Malta secured a total of 600,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech. If the European Medicines Authority approve Modernàs and AstraZeneca vaccine, these will also be available. In total, Malta has more than one million doses on order.
The Maltese general public will start receiving the vaccine by April. Health Minister Chris Fearne explained that those who will receive the vaccination will also receive a health certificate. He added that at a European level, a discussion on whether to issue a vaccine passport has initiated.
Prime Minister Robert Abela urged the public to remain vigilant and not to let down their guard. “The road to normality begins today,” he stressed while urging the public to remain cautious.
Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci urged the public to get vaccinated.
The World Health Organisation’s regional director, Hans Kluge, congratulated Maltàs health leadership ahead of the rolling out of the mass vaccination programme.
Visibly emotional, the health minister asked for a few minutes of silence to honour the Covid-19 victims. He acknowledged that while it is a day to celebrate the arrival of the vaccine, families have lost their loved ones to the pandemic. Up to now, 206 patients lost their life.
Malta has registered a total of 12,241 positive cases. 1,485 cases remain active.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS) – A new fast ferry between Malta and Sicily will be launched next summer. Ponte Ferries will operate the new, fast ferry catamaran service to Sicily with a 96-metre passenger, vehicle and cargo-carrying, high-speed craft.
The ferry, which will shuttle every day between Malta and the Port of Augusta – located less than 30 minutes away from Catania – promises to bring the much-needed choice and competition with the entry of a second operator in the market.
The HSC Artemis will sail into the Grand Harbour in the coming days, where it will undergo internal upgrades to equip the vessel with the latest technologies and amenities, providing passengers with a number of firsts for this type of travel. She will also feature a club class lounge, among many other services.
A Ponte Ferries spokesperson said: “We are thrilled and determined to offer a choice for hauliers and visitors to Sicily. We have researched the market for a few years now, and know that this is what people want”.
Ponte Ferries has been in talks with the Valletta Cruise Port and Port of Augusta authorities for at least two years. Ponte Ferries is a Maltese joint venture.
The high-speed craft will be able to shuttle more than 717 passengers between Malta and Augusta and has the flexibility to carry 245 cars, or 15 road freight trailers plus 180 cars.
The trip between Malta and Augusta will offer clients a new opportunity to explore Catania, Taormina and Syracuse with a reduction in transit time.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Neville Gafà, a former official at the Office of the Maltese Prime Minister has been acquitted of threatening Italian journalist Nello Scavo last summer. The Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence and that the comment was more political than a threat.
The case goes back to a Tweet made in June 2020 by Neville Gafa telling Scavo “Stop your dirty business. If not, we will stop you.” The comment was made on a post by the humanitarian NGO Alarm Phone. The journalist who works with the Italian newspaper ‘L’Avvenirè had asked on Twitter to who was the threat meant, and who the “we” was referring to in Gafà’s tweet.
In an immediate comment, Scavo declared “these legal proceedings have allowed me to get to know at first hand the reality in which journalists in Malta live and the climate of continual tension they live in and the constant belittling of the work they do”.
The journalist who has been given police protection in Italy because of threats by the Mafia said that he “will not stop from supporting my Maltese colleagues who have bravely taken on the mantle from the works of Daphne Caruana Galizia and who fight to keep her memory alive”.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The President of Malta, George Vella declared that Maltàs first and primary challenge should be that of bringing to justice, those who are guilty and others that have participated in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
In his address on Republic Day, Maltàs President declared that “allegations of criminality and dubious connections have to be investigated in the most professional way possible, and those involved in this crime should be brought to justice without delay or favour”.
He warned that restoring Maltàs reputation overseas does not come by trying to forget what happened, but by showing genuine remorse and making sure that nothing of the sort will ever happen again.