LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Italian Ambassador to Malta, who will be terminating his mission in the coming weeks, paid a farewell visit to the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo.
The meeting was an opportunity to review the main issues on the bilateral, European and international agenda upon which there is a strong harmony between the two countries. Both countries are strongly committed, among other things, to the stability of the central Mediterranean, a shared management of migratory flows at European level as well as the protection of the marine environment and its resources.
The Ambassador expressed his deep appreciation to the Minister for the commitment made to confirm and strengthen the values of the rule of law even in the most dramatic of circumstances that Malta experienced in the past months.
Both Ambassador Sammartino and Minister Bartolo agreed on the necessity to ensure cohesion and collaboration at the European level to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and its serious repercussions on the economic and social conditions of the two countries.
While Malta has registered a new record number of COVID-19 positive cases, the Maltese government has announced new measures to control the pandemic. The Nationalist Opposition has stated that Prime Minister Robert Abela has lost control over the pandemic and the Medical Association declared that if these measures fail there will be no option left except lock downs and curfews as has happened in Spain, France and the UK.
On Friday, the health authorities registered 122 new cases. This brings the number of active cases up to 1,095. The Superintendent of Public Health, Professor Charmaine Gauci confirmed that the number of positive cases related to bars have increased once again. She also appealed to workplaces to take the situation seriously and to implement the necessary measures and to promote teleworking whenever necessary.
From today, masks must also be worn in the streets and in any public outdoor space. Anyone who does not adhere to this measure, will get fined. Till yesterday, masks have been obligatory in public transport, in spaces for public services such as shops.
Entertainment and catering establishments will all be closing at 11pm, as of next Monday. This includes bars and band clubs. The Medical Association said that the closure at 11pm will have no impact at all, while the very low number of 800 fines in two months does not augur well. “Sadly both reflect the government is in reality unwilling to enforce,” added MAM President Martin Balzan.
As of 28th October, rapid testing is to be introduced at the airport and seaport. On Friday, cruise liner MSC Grandiosa was not allowed to disembark passengers in Malta, after a suspected case of coronavirus on board. This was confirmed by Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli.
The Medical Association said that testing just 15 arrivals a day at the airport was another “fake” measure, meaning that possibly hundreds of cases are coming to Malta with Covid every week and remain undetected. MAM is insisting on obligatory testing on all passengers who do not pretest before arrival should be introduced.
Malta registered the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in 24 hours since the start of the pandemic. The health authorities confirmed that 112 new coronavirus cases were reported on Thursday.
The number of active cases continues to surge and now stands at 1,009. Up to yesterday, the highest daily number of cases was recorded when 111 cases were reported. This was surpassed on Thursday.
A 59 year-old man became the latest COVID-19 victim on Wednesday and to date the pandemic has claimed 45 lives.
To date, Malta has registered 4,160 coronavirus cases out of which 3,106 have made a recovery. A total of 289,594 swab tests have been carried out.
The Maltese government is under intense pressure from various health associations and other trade unions to re-introduce measures to curb the pandemic. Local reports quoted the Office of the Prime Minister saying that the government is expected to enhance the enforcement to control the spreading of the pandemic.
The Maltese government is under huge pressure with daily positive cases of COVID-19 close to hundred while deaths continue to be registered from COVID every day. So far, Malta has 881 active cases, 44 registered deaths and 3,012 total recoveries.
The Medical Association of Malta, MAM, is calling the Maltese health authorities to come up with an effective strategy and measures, similar to those in Spain, France and the UK, to bring the epidemic under control. The Forum of Maltese declared that the COVID-19 situation could quickly get out of hand, both in terms of hospital and ITU capacity, but also in terms of the ability of people to go on with their normal life and activity. The Malta Union of Teachers, MUT has issued an ultimatum, until Thursday, to the Maltese government to take the necessary actions and implement new measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
The Nationalist Party is insisting that a national public health emergency should be announced as soon as possible. However, Prime Minister Robert Abela declared that there is no need for “state of national panic.” He added that at this moment the government is not considering to shut down the economy, close the airport and lock people at home once again.
According to a recent survey, the government’s handling of the pandemic and the economic instability brought by the coronavirus had an impact on Prime Minister Robert Abelàs performance registering the lowest level of trust among the electorate since he became Prime Minister last January. Partit Laburista leader Robert Abela is now polling at 46.6%. Bernard Grech who has only been leader of the Nationalist Party for a week and Opposition leader for less than that, has gained 30.9%. In terms of votes, the Nationalist Party has halved the gap to 30,000 from the 57,000 vote gap.
A 68-year-old Italian man has lost his life in Malta after a fork-lifter fell on top of him. The Police confirmed that the accident happened on Friday at 8:15am at the industrial zone of Birżebbuġia. The victim originally from Paterno was certified dead on site. The Police are investigating the case and an inquiry has been appointed.
Former Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has announced his resignation from Parliament after 12-years.
In a very brief address, Muscat noted that he had already signalled his intention to resign earlier this year. He said that he did not even informed his Labour colleagues about the submission of his resignation letter to avoid any ceremony.
Muscat insisted that he was proud to have served for three terms in the Maltese Parliament, including his time as Prime Minister.
The former Maltese PM, who campaigned against Maltàs EU membership, was elected to the European Parliament in 2004, and became Labour Party leader in 2008. He was co-opted to Parliament following the resignation of MP Joseph Cuschieri.
He became Prime Minister following the 2013 general election, and was re-elected in 2017 in spite of various corruption scandals, including the Panama Papers revelation that his chief of staff Keith Schembri and Labour Minister Konrad Mizzi had opened secret companies.
His second term was marked by the assassination his most prominent critic – investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The arrest of businessman Yorgen Fenech in November 2019 led to regular anti-government protests which led Muscat to resign from Prime Minister.
After just one week from the reopening of schools in Malta, the health authorities confirmed that seven educators and a student from four different schools have been tested positive for COVID-19.
So far, Malta has 518 active cases with a total of 2,770 recoveries and 39 deaths.
The Union of Professional Educators made a fresh call to the Maltese government to shift to online learning. The union said that notifications have been reaching the union’s offices informing of numerous alleged cases in a number of schools,and these notifications have not stopped rolling in since the re-opening of the schools.
The Union of Teachers accused the Maltese government of failing to take a strong lead in introducing restrictive measures and in enforcing them during the pandemic. The MUT added that the Government has to shoulder the responsibility for the re-opening of schools during a pandemic where the R-factor and the number of positive daily cases is high.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Family lawyer Bernard Grech will become the next Leader of the Opposition in Malta. Late Saturday night he was voted to become the new leader of the Nationalist Party’s following yesterday’s leadership election as he has obtained more votes than the incumbent, Adrian Delia.
Addressing the party members, Bernard Grech declared “the first thing I will work on as PN leader is unity. This political party will be the party that everyone can feel part of. I want a party that is organized, credible and united.” “As from tomorrow we need to unite this party and start working towards a general election to make this glorious party a truly alternative government,” concluded Bernard Grech.
12,663 voted for Bernard Grech, that is 69.3% of the party members while Adrian Delia got 5,622 votes, 30.7%. There were also 77 invalid votes. In a statement issued by the PN’s Electoral Commission, shortly after the official result was announced, it was said 85% of the party members have voted.
Grech is the second successive PN leader chosen from outside Parliament, after Delia himself. MP and entrepreneur Ivan J. Bartolo has already offered to give up his seat to make way for Grech: since he was himself elected through a casual election, it will be up to the party to co-opt the replacement of its choice.
The leadership election was held on the strength of a decision of the PN’s general council on 1 August, with the council having rejected Deliàs preferred option of a simple confidence vote among the tesserati.
Delia had already lost confidence votes among the party’s parliamentary group and its executive committee, but insisted that only the party members could force his removal from the party’s leadership.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shows that Malta is reporting the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in Europe, with 3.6 deaths per 100,000 population reported over the previous 14 days. Only Spain comes close, with a rate of 3.4. Meanwhile, the health authorities in Malta confirmed that three patients have died due to coronavirus during the last 24 hours, bringing Maltàs death count to 37. Two men, aged 90 and 78 years, died at Mater Dei Hospital. The 90 year old resulted positive to the virus on the 15th of September and was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital on the 27th of September. The 78 year old resulted positive to the virus on the 10th of September and was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital on the 15th of September. An 85-year-old man who was tested positive of the 27th September, has died of COVID-19 at a private hospital. Today, Malta has registered 44 new cases of coronavirus. This brings up the number of persons with COVID-19 to 434. 2,668 patients have recovered since last March.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Following sufficient evidence, on Thursday, the Police in Malta arraigned Neville Gafà,former official at the Office of the Prime Minister for threatening investigative Italian journalist Sebastiano Scavo.
The Police said in court that on 5th August 2020 they received a complaint from Italian Journalist Sebastiano Scavo regarding a comment made by Gafà on Twitter following a post made by the humanitarian NGO Alarm Phone.
Gafà used his Twitter account to tell Scavo “stop your dirty business. If not, we will be stopping you.”
The Italian journalist has been following ground-breaking stories on pushbacks into Libyan concentration camps on migrants from all over the African continent.
During the interrogation, Gafà admitted that he posted the comment on twitter while he was at his residence in Mellie?a. Gafà insited that he had no intention to pose a threat or harm Scavo but it was a political comment as he wanted to make pressure on the issue of migration.
In court, the Italian journalist said that he still feels threatened by the accused even after he tried to clarify the matter with Gafà. Scavo recalls how, on Twitter, he had asked him what he meant when he wrote “we will stop you” and who is “we”. A question to which the accused had not replied.
The Italian journalist also said that since 2019 he has been under the protection of Italian Police and this year this protection has again been confirmed following the threats posed by Neville Gafà. Sebastiano Scavo has presented in court the documents which prove he is under protection.
The case will continue on 15th of October.