The Maltese government is under constant pressure to take the necessary actions to address the spread of coronavirus amongst the population.
According the official statistics issued by the local health authorities, during the last two weeks 207 new cases of COVID-19 were registered. So far, Malta has a total of 267 active cases, 670 patients have recovered and nine patients lost their life. An Italian man, aged 27 from Umbria tested positive for Covid-19 and is suspected to have caught the virus while on holiday in Malta some days ago. The man lives in Stroncone in the province of Terni. He was symptomatic when health workers of the Terni Health District administered a swab test which resulted positive for Covid-19.
Associations and unions representing various medical professions are calling the Maltese Prime Minister to cancel all mass events, while constituted bodies representing employers from different sectors of the economy declared that the Maltese government cannot continue to deny the present situation. “Safeguarding public health and stimulating the economy should not come at each other’s expense,” said Malta Employers’ Association Director Joseph Farrugia. Even the President of the Hotel and Restaurants Association Tony Zahra who was in favour of the government’s decision to open the airport for tourists, declared that “possibly the country opened for mass events too fast.”
Following the rise in local COVID-19 cases, four EU countries; Ireland, Lativia, Lithuania and Estonia already removed Malta from their own safe travel list. The Mediterranean island which highly depends on the British market, is also at risk of being removed from the UK’s safe travel list.
The Medical Association reported that 95% of its members have compiled to its directives as a protest against the government for refusing its calls to ban the organisation of mass events. As from tomorrow, even the nurses will start to follow other directives issued by their union. According to the nurses’ union, if Malta keeps registering high new cases of COVID-19 for the next seven days, such new cases will be considered to be the second wave, and Malta will risk another partial lock down as the one in previous March.
Malta is set to re-open its film industry, starting with Universal Pictures’ blockbuster movie – Jurassic World: Dominion, by August.
The Malta Film Commission can confirm that filming for Jurassic World: Dominion will commence by the end of August. The Malta Film Commission is fully collaborating with the Health Authority to make sure all safety precautions are kept with strict protocols.
Maltàs Minister for Tourism, Julia Farrugia Portelli stated that “the Malta Film Commission is expecting 9 international productions during this year. Starting with Jurassic World: Dominion, other multi million projects will follow with huge investment in our economy, creating more jobs to anyone working in the film industry in Malta.” Over 1000 crew are expected to work on Jurassic World: Dominion in Malta.
“As Film Commission, wève been working hard to attract the Universal Pictures blockbuster since April 2019. Our recently-introduced incentives, the 40% cash-back for productions, serves as a key incentive to studios & film-makers to consider Malta for film and TV productions” Film Commissioner Johann Grech stated.
“Malta will continue to show its potential globally, and as Malta Film Commission, we are proud to host Jurassic World. We are always hands-on to give the support and resources to producers,” the Film Commissioner concluded.
The latest Jurassic World Movie released in 2018 managed to make $1.3 billion worldwide, ranking 15th worldwide.
Last year, the Malta Film Commission managed to generate more than 40 million into the Maltese economy, attracting a total of 21 productions.
The Maltese government has issued a call for expression of interest for the provision of vessels to “keep migrants in quarantine”. This decision was announced today, as the country registered a spike in positive cases of COVID-19 especially amongst migrants who were allowed to enter Malta in recent days. As from last Monday, two groups of migrants arrived in Malta; 85 out of 113 were found positive for COVID-19.
Throughtout the peak of the pandemic, the Maltese government paid €1.7 million to local operators, to keep 400 migrants on private vessels out at sea for various weeks.
The Home Affairs Ministry said that all necessary precautions have already been taken in cases where migrants have been found positive for COVID-19 and in such cases they have always been kept isolated. The Maltese government has even opened a Red Cross-operated clinic in Hal Far open centre.
“The government is working hard to control the arrivals of migrants in Malta. In recent weeks thousands of migrants who began their journey from Libya have been rescued in Libyan waters and taken back. Work has also continued on re-locations and those not eligible for protection were sent back to their country of origin.” The Maltese Government declared that Malta will continue to honour ts legal and international obligations when migrants are in distress in Malese waters. “At this stage, the Maltese government felt that there should be also the option of using vessels to control and manage the situation better.” The use of such vessels must complement the work carried out by the Maltese government, which is primarily focused on preventing arrivals of migrants, and these will be only used when the Armed Forces of Malta “have no choice except to save migrants from drowning”.
Malta has registered a dramatic increase in new COVID-19 cases in just a week bringing the total to 112 cases.
The new cases are related to the organisation of mass events and the arrival of migrants on the island. The Maltese authorities are issuing licenses permitting parties and local festivities.
The Maltese health authorities confirmed that most of the registered cases during the last week are related to a pool party organised in one of the main hotels in St. Julian’s and the local village feast of Saint Venera. However, 66 from a group of 94 migrants were tested positive on their arrival to Malta last Monday.
The total number of cases reported in Malta so far stands at 786, with 665 patients recovering from Covid-19 so far. The pandemic has claimed 9 lives in Malta so far. The total number of swab tests carried out in Malta is up to 123,963.
Melvin Theuma who had been granted a presidential pardon in connection with the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has been hospitalised after being found seriously injured in his Swieqi home on Tuesday night. He was found with his throat slit in the bathroom and had large wounds in his abdominal as well as his wrist.
In a press conference addressed by the Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà, it was said that Theuma sustained stab wounds which appeared to be self-inflicted. Gafà declared that Theuma had never indicated any suicidal thoughts before yesterday’s attempt and there were no known threats to his life.
The police were alerted by Theumàs lawyer Kathleen Grima after he failed to answer her calls. The police officer stationed outside his home entered inside, accompanied by Theumàs wife, discovering Theuma lying injured with a knife in his hand.
The police stated that while the investigations were ongoing, they have immediately requested the duty magistrate to carry out an inquiry.
Theuma had been granted a presidential pardon last December, when he was arrested over a money laundering charge. He admitted to being a middleman in the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and his testimony has served to implicate Yorgen Fenech, the former CEO of Tumas Group who stands accused as the mastermind of the murder.
Fenech’s defence team is requesting the Maltese courts for Theumàs mobile phone to be presented to the court and has called for an investigation into yesterday evening’s incident. Today, Theuma had to testify on recordings that “were lost” or “could not be found” by the Police. The defence team representing Jorgen Fenecg also alleged that these recordings are kept hidden by the police.
The sailing school ship Amerigo Vespucci of the Italian Navy will make a passage in the waters in front of the Island of Malta, as part of the education campaign for 1st class students of the Naval Academy of Livorno.
In the afternoon of today, July 21, the unit will pass off Gozo to continue along the northeastern coast until it reaches the waters overlooking the capital around sunset. As usual on the naval units of the Navy, the 106 official students and the crew will take part in the suggestive ceremony of the flag. The masts of the ship will be illuminated with the Italian tricolore. The ship, after completing the circumnavigation of the island, will continue the training of the official students in the open sea towards the Egadi islands.
The 2020 education campaign takes place in an unusual way, in order to comply with the necessary safety requirements for shipboard personnel in relation to the COVID 19 problem; therefore, the usual openings to the public of the ship during stops in ports are not foreseen.
This year’s training activity is dedicated to all Italians who have experienced this moment of particular difficulty and, therefore, every possible opportunity of close passage will be seized to greet the communities along the coasts lapped by the vessel.
Maltàs leading and grammy-nominated tenor Joseph Calleja will once again join musical forces with Zucchero, popularly known as ‘the father of Italian blues’, with international hits ‘Diamantè, ‘Il Volò, ‘Baila morenà, and ‘Senza una donnà in a national spectacle that will take place on Friday, 4th September, in Floriana. With the partecipation of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, the upcoming event promises to be yet another unforgettable celebration of music under the stars.
In 2013 and 2015, Zucchero and Calleja have performed together in Malta.
To date, Zucchero has sold over 60 million records around the world, winning numerous competitions and awards, including four Festivalbar editions, nine Wind Music Awards, two World Music Awards, six IFPI Europe Platinum Awards, and a Grammy Award nomination. The Italian household name has collaborated and performed with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Brian May, Miles Davis, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Sting, Bono, Dolores O’Riordan, Paul Young, Peter Gabriel, Luciano Pavarotti, and Andrea Bocelli.
The general public can expect songs from the superstars’ new album released last November and performed live for the very first time just last June. The event will be adhering to all public health guidelines and procedures. Ticketsare on-sale to the public from Monday 20th July.
The High Representtive of the European Union Joseph Borrell declared that the European Union is proposing a new pact for asylum migration, a new approach, a permanent solution for illegal migration. Borrell held talks with the Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela during an official visit to the mediterranean island.
Abela stated that Malta’s position on migration will not change. “Malta should not be pressured to allow migrants to enter its shores when the migrants were not let to disembark at the nearest and safest port.” The Maltese Prime Minister was referring to the group of 52 migrants who were rescued last Saturday by the merchant vessel Talia. “The nearest safe port for this particular group of migrants was Italy and then the boat moved towards Malta. Unfortunately the issue remains on the disembarkation on these migrants,” said the Maltese Prime Minister.
“It is not our problem but partly our problem and that is why Malta needs help from the European Union. The number of countries offering help is encouraging but is relatively small,” added Robert Abela.
The Maltese Prime Minister also mentioned the co-operation of the Libyan government towards Malta.
Photo by Roderick Agius
The Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela said Malta and Libya recognize the need for more protection of the borders of both Eastern Europe and the central Mediterranean, southern Libya and more areas in both contintents. The Maltese Prime Minister was meeting the Libyan Prime Minister Faiez Mustafa Serraj who is on a state visit in Malta.
Robert Abela said that Malta considers Libya as a “trustworthy friend” and the Libyan people “as brothers of the Maltese and Gozitan people.” He added that the Maltese government wants this cooperation to continue, based on mutual trust.
The President of the Libyan Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord Faiez Mustafa Serraj arrived in Malta on Monday. He said that the aim of his frequent visits to Malta is to increase consultation between two countries on various issues of common interest. The President of the Libyan Council stressed that the challenges in the Mediterranean region must be faced together in order to create new opportunities for the benefit of the Maltese and Libyan people.
The Maltese Prime Minister thanked the Libyan government for “the work to protect and save lives in the Mediterranean.” He explained that Malta had been receiving a number of migrants for many years due to the criminal activity of human trafficking. He said these pressures have continued to increase and intensify in recent months.
Robert Abela remarked that this issue was discussed many times with Libya, with European and African partners as well as with others. The Maltese Prime Minister reiterated that this cooperation covers other important issues such as border protection and the need for more investment to ensure prosperity and security in the Mediterranean region.
“The Immigrant Coordination Center, which was inaugurated today in Malta is considered by the Maltese government as the first step in this direction,” said Robert Abela. Last May, the Maltese Prime Minister led a delegation to Libya on an unannounced official visit. During that visit, the two governments signed a memorandum of understanding in which they committed themselves to continue addressing human smuggling and trafficking from the war torn country to Europe.
Robert Abela confirmed the support of the Maltese people at this difficult time Libya is facing. “For us, Libya must be Libyan and led by Libyans. The Maltese Government will continue to support Libya and will encourage more investment so that Libya will build itself again and regain stability.”
Meanwhile, the Maltese Government announced that 284 migrants that are currently in Malta will be relocated to other European Union member states. The process will be co-ordinated by the European Commission. The Maltese Government said that the negotiations on the relocation of these migrants started during the period when the Maltese ports were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency declared by the government.
Malta has registered the first positive case of Covid-19 just 24 hours after the reopening of its international airport. This case which was confirmed in the last hours, was imported from abroad.
According to the Ministry of Health, the passenger showed symptoms similar to those of Covid-19. A male passenger arrived on an Air Malta flight from Amsterdam two days ago on the very first day that the airport was opened. The crew on board the Air Malta flight, were asked to do self-isolation at home.
Currently, the total number of positive cases for Covid-19 in Malta is at the level of 672, while the total number of those who have recovered is 650, with an increase of another person in the last 24 hours. Thus, the total number of active cases remained at 13.