LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – A public inquiry into the killing of investigative Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia concluded that the Maltese State must shoulder responsibility for the assassination of Caruana Galizia for creating a culture of impunity which infiltrated the country’s institutions. In a 437-page report the inquiry did not found any evidence that the Maltese State was actively involved in the murder, but concluded that a culture of impunity was created from the highest ranks of power within the former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s office. “The impunity was generated at the highest levels at the heart of administration and like an octopus spread to other entities such as regulatory institutions and the Police leading to the collapse of the Rule of Law”. The public inquiry found Muscat as “indirectly responsible” for Daphne Caruana Galiziàs death for failing to sack his Chief-of-Staff Keith Schembri and former energy minister Konrad Mizzi for the setting up of secret companies in Panama. Schembri and Mizzi were planning to do business with Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech’s secret Dubai company 17 Black. “While Muscat could justify his decision to keep them on after the Panama Paper revelations by saying it was a wrong political decision, he certainly could not do so on 17 Black which implicated both Schembri and Mizzi in serious criminal allegations”. In its conclusions, the report said the Maltese State did not recognise “the real and immediate risks, including the criminal conduct of third parties, on the life of Daphne Caruana Galizia” and failed to take the necessary action to protect the journalist. Noting that Daphne Caruana Galiziàs murder was “intrinsically, if not exclusively” linked to her investigative work on major projects involving big business, the report said the police are not excluding the involvement of other parties behind those currently charged with her murder.
Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio are charged with planning and executing the assassination while Fenech stands charged with organising and financing the assassination. The third man charged with planting the bomb, Vince Muscat, was sentenced to 15 years’ jail after reaching a plea bargain agreement. Melvin Theuma, who claims to be a middleman in the murder, secured immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony. The Maltese Parliament will convene on Friday morning in a special session to discuss the report from the public inquiry into the death of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta continued to register further increase in new coronavirus cases. The local health authorities confirmed 166 new cases on Thursday, 33 cases less than the previous day.
With 2,487 active cases, Maltàs COVID-19 rate is the fifth highest in the European Union. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), only Cyprus, Portugal and Spain and the Netherlands have a higher case rate per 100,000 people.
No deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours. Malta is the only country in the EU to have a death rate of zero for these last three weeks. The local health authorities are attributing this situation to the high vaccination rate. A total of 17 coronavirus positive patients are currently being treated at Mater Dei Hospital, one of whom is in the Intensive Care Unit.
Active Ageing Minister Michael Farrugia has been released from hospital after tests confirmed that there were no undue complications from his Covid-19 infection. Farrugia was tested positive last Sunday.
Meanwhile, a group of 128 French students, who are positive for Covid-19, returned home earlier this afternoon with a special flight operated by ASL Airlines France which specialises in medical flights. Almost 200 students had already been repatriated on two flights on Monday and Tuesday to Italy, Germany and Spain. All of these turned out to be negative for the virus although some were in quarantine. It is understood that more than 500 students who were studying English in Malta tested positive for coronavirus. Malta has had 33,198 cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic which has claimed 420 lives so far.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – As Malta has been red-listed once again by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Maltese authorities started to repatriate the first groups of foriegn students who were in Malta to study the English language. Malta has seen an upsurge in COVID-19 cases as from last week following different clusters of foreign students from Italy, France, Germany and Spain who were found positive to coronavirus. As a result, the Maltese government ordered the closure of all English language schools on the island. The repatriation programme is coordinated and financed by the Malta Tourism Authority. The first flight with 58 Italian and around 30 German students left Malta at 10.15 and arrived at Romès Fiumicino airport at around 12.20. The last stop was scheduled at Frankfurt airport. All students had to undergo a swap test before boarding in order to provide a negative test result upon their arrival in Rome and Frankfurt. The recent increase in Covid-19 cases has made Malta one of the worst-affected regions in Europe. During the last 24 hours, the Maltese health authorities registered 146 new cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 1.963. Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela decribed the present situation as “under control”.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – As the number of positive cases continue to rise in Malta, it was officially announced the Minister for Active Ageing Michael Farrugia was tested positive for COVID-19.
Farrugia announced that he underwent a swab test and the result came back positive. Farrugia added that he will now spend the next two weeks in quarantine.
The Minister received the first dose of the vaccine on January, 29th followed by the second dose later.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Foreign students who are stuck in Malta will soon return to their home country. The Maltese government will be organising repatriation flights in the coming days, however no offical details were released. However those students who are kept in isolation are expected to stay in Malta until the end of the quarantine period.
According to relaible sources, the Malta Tourism Authority is in regular contact with the Maltese Federation representing the English schools to co-ordinate the repatriation flights for students from Italy, Germany, Spain and France. Hundreds of foreign students are stuck in Malta after the government closed all English schools on Wednesday.
However, it is not yet known who will pay for these flights and whether the Maltese Government will be giving a subsidy to any foreign student who returns to his country.
Meanwhile, the Malta Tourism Authority has issued a public call for the availability of a second hotel that can accommodate more foreigners who are in quarantine. The Corinthia Marina hotel in St. Julian’s were most of the Italian students are staying is almost full with 287 guests.
Malta is registering a daily increase in COVID-19 cases. The total number of active cases rose to 1,441 in just few days.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The public inquiry board charged to investigate whether the Maltese State did enough to prevent the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia said it will present its conclusions to Prime Minister Robert Abela and State Advocate in the coming days after concluding its work. Then, the Office of the Prime Minister have eight working days to review it. The report will then be handed over to the Caruana Galizia family to review it.
Over the past 18 months, the inquiry board composed by three judges, heard many witnesses, including former prime minister Joseph Muscat, his former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, ministers, journalists and activists.
The board was set up in December 2019 following pressure from European institutions and the civil society. Ooriginally it had a nine-month term to conclude its work but requested an extension since the process was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – 81 migrants were rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta early this morning while three others were found dead. It is believed that the dead migrants are Sudanese and lost their life due to dehydration and exhaustion. The group of migrants who left from Libya, were stranded in a boat in the search and rescue area of Malta, 51 miles from the island of Lampedusa.
The non-governmental organisation Alarm Phone pointed out that if the rescue operation had been immediate, those three people would still survive. The NGO called for an independent investigation into the cause of their deaths.
Sea-Watch, another humanitarian non-governmental organisation accused the Maltese authories of “criminal behaviour” following an order issued to one of three ships in the area, not to intervene until further instructions.
The Maltese authorities ordered a magisterial inquiry to determine the cause of death of the three immigrants. The police from the Migration Section is investigating.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese government has proposed seventeen major investments for the approval of the European Commission under the 345 million ‘Recovery and Resilience Plan’ allocated to Malta.
Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said the aim is to spend half of the funds on environmental projects and a quarter to digitilise the economy. The Maltese government is planning to spend 41 million on a new Institute for Tourism Studies campus, 50 million to strengthen the healthcare system and 10 million to digitalise Maltàs judicial system, among other programmes. The rest will be spent on various projects.
In a tweet, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen expressed support for Maltàs proposed recovery plan and even mentioned some of the key points raised by Azzopardi including sustainable transport, energy-efficiency and the digitalising public administration.
The European Parliament approved the 672.5 billion recovery and resilience facility, and consists of grants and loans to help EU states tackle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Maltese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne confirmed this afternoon that a 5 year old Maltese girl who died within 24 hours of being taken to Mater Dei Hospital last Saturday was tested positive for COVID-19 after her death.
The Maltese authorities are already investigating the death which is subject to an inquiry and health authorities are carrying out further tests, including an autopsy to verify whether the death was Covid related.
Minister Fearne urged for caution and respect to the privacy of the young girl’s family. However, he said that the young girl died on Saturday afternoon after developing a fever the day before. She was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital in a critical state and died sometime later after being put on a ventilator. He added that in the sake of transparency, authorities will keep the public informed about the autopsy results.
Minister Fearne explained that while the girl had tested negative for Covid-19 upon her admission to hospital, but a second test was “mildly reactive” to the virus. Fearne says that the mildly reactive test result showed that the person came in contact with the virus or contracted the virus in the past.
He added that nobody in the girl’s family was tested positive. The minister said the five -year-old girl was healthy and did not have any other medical conditions.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that although the vaccines do not provide 100% cover from Covid, the results are encouraging given that at the moment only one person is in intensive care unit at Mater Dei Hospital.
Fearne said the highly contagious Delta variant is present in Malta as it is in other countries. He remarked that Malta is close to achieving an 85% herd immunity needed to mitigate the spread of the Delta variant.
The local health authorities confirmed announced 154 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours bringing the total of active cases to 782. Minister Fearne said that 15% of active cases are Maltese residents. Moreover, 90% of all active cases are non-vaccinated.
Justifying the ban on unvaccinated travellers which starts from tomorrow, the Maltese Deputy Prime Minister declared that Malta is only doing what is best to protect the public health. Yesterday, the European Commission expressed its concerns over what it described as a discriminatory rule and against the freedom of movement within the EU countries.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta has registered a new record of positive cases of COVID-19 since last March. The local health authorties announced that in the past 24 hours, 179 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total numer of active cases to 634.
Maltese Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne is currently in self-isolation after a family member tested positive for coronavirus. The government said the minister did not test positive, however, he would be adhering to the measures imposed by the health authorities.
Malta is currently experiencing a surge in Covid cases and concerns are being also raised that there might be more foreign students infected with COVID-19. In recent days, the Maltese health authorities identified dozens of foreign students from 12 English schools who were tested positive for COVID-19.
The authorities did not release any details about the nationality of the foreign students stranded in Malta due to last week’s government decision to close all English Language schools by Wednesday, 14th. However, it is known that over 150 Italian students are stuck in Malta, most of them kept in quarantine while others in isolation. The Italian students including other foreign students mainly from Spain and France are currently staying in two hotels; Qawra Palace Hotel in Bugibba and Corinthia Marina in Paceville.
However, all Italian students were transferred to the same hotel in St. Julian’s. According to reports on Facebook, Liguria Region Governor Giovanni Toti spoke on the phone with Italian Foreign Minister Lugi Di Maio to check about the recent developments and when the students are expected to return from Malta. “I thank Minister Di Maio for his interest in the case of the youngsters stuck in Malta”, Toti said. Over last weekend, the Italian Foreign Minister confirmed that the Italian students and staff were transferred from Qawra Palace Hotel to Corinthia Marina Hotel, where other Italian groups confirmed positive to COVID-19 were also staying.
A group of eight youngsters from Imperia – seven boys and a girl from Imperia are being kept in isolation. The group arrived in Malta for a post-graduation vacation at the end of June, but on returning to Italy, while undergoing medical tests at Maltàs international airport, the only one unvaccinated was found positive to COVID-19. As a result the whole group was then placed in isolation.
There is also the financial issue. According to a family member of one of the Italian students stranded in Malta, the families have to cover the addition costs in Malta. “If there will be 14 days left, we have counted an expense of about 14 thousand euros per family”, photographer Adolfo Ranise, father of one of the Imperian students declared.
The Italian Embassy in Malta is following the latest developments very closely, and is in constant contact with the Maltese authorities to ensure that the treatment to all the Italian nationals stranded in Malta meets the standards agreed with the local authorities.
The Italian Foreign Ministry is being asked by family members and local authorties in Italy to activate all diplomatic procedures to allow the repatriation of those students stranded in Malta who were tested negative to COVID-19.