LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) The new Italian Ambassador to Malta Fabrizio Romano met with Anglu Farrugia, the Speaker of the Maltese House of Representatives during a courtesy visit in Valletta.
After welcoming Ambassador Romano, Seaker Farrugia highlighted the very strong, long-standing and historical bilateral relations that exist between the two neighbouring countries. Speaker Farrugia recalled the extensive number of high-level visits and the numerous agreements which reflect these exceptional relations.
He noted that, at a parliamentary level, the bilateral relations were also very good and referred to his participation in the the Parliamentary event held in Rome in March 2017 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty.
Romano and Farrugia exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit Italy very severely, with almost two and half million cases, resulting in over 86 thousand fatalities. In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, both parties agreed to organise a number of video conferences with interested parties. A proposal was also put forward to organise a video conference with a newly appointed Parliamentary Friendship Group.
They also discussed issues of mutual interest, including the present political situation in Italy, the influx of migrants, as well as the thousands of Italians working in Malta.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – European Commissioner Helena Dallìs son, Jean-Marc Dalli, was found guilty of drug trafficking by the Criminal court in Malta. He was caught handing out ecstasy at a party in Paola in 2013.
Magistrate Natasha Galea handed down a 3-month sentence and a 650 fine to the 25-year old, taking into consideration his clean police conduct and the fact that he aided Police in their investigations by naming his seller.
Dalli, a Marsascala resident, was caught red-handed handing 6 ecstasy pills to another young man outside a party held near Corradino in September of 7 years ago. The Prosecution told the Court that Police stationed outside the party observed a group of youths arriving, and then witnessed the accused passing a paper bag to another young man. The police intervened as they suspected drug trafficking, and conducted searches. One of the other men were found in possession of six blue pills in a paper bag, and another woman was also found in possession of three blue pills. No drugs were found on the accused.
The defense presented an argument saying that it was a case of drug sharing; but the Magistrate stated that there was no evidence to show that the drug was being shared. It had simply been passed on in a paper bag.
Dalli was also ordered to pay half the Court expenses.
GOZO (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Two priests from Xag?ra, Gozo pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing a former altar boy who is living in Italy, after he had to leave Gozo. The two men were arraigned before a court in Gozo on Wednesday. J.S., 84, who served in parishes in Xag?ra as well as overseas, was accused of having defiled a minor and holding him against his will. The alleged abuse happened between 2003 and 2005. J.C., 70, was separately charged with defiling and raping a minor. J.S. was the first to be arraigned before Magistrate Monica Vella on Wednesday. The victim was around 8 years old at the time. The man said J.S. would regularly abuse him for a period which ranged from twelve to eighteen months. The abuse took place either in the parish hall, sacristy or confessional. The witness told the court that he reported the abuse two years ago to Fr. Anton Theuma who is now the bishop of Gozo. Fr. Teuma had advised the victim to report the matter to the Church’s Safeguarding Commission. The victim provided the commission with the names of other alleged victims.
The alleged victim told the court that he continued to serve as an altar boy until the age of 15. He recounted how the abuse led to depression. The victim said he felt dirty and started abusing drugs in his early teenage years. He said he tried to commit suicide at the age of 18. The other priest, J.C. also pleaded not guilty to defiling a minor and raping a child. The victim told the court that J.C. had lured him to his house. He detailed the abuse he suffered and recounted how J.C. had forced himself onto him one day. The victim told the court that J.C. would give him money after abusing him. On the day he was raped, the alleged aggressor gave him 5 Malta Liri (11.65). The prosecution told the court that both accused were aware that they were under investigation with J.S. having sent the victim a legal letter earlier this month urging him to drop the accusations. J.C. had sent a text message to another witness in the case. The prosecution stressed that more witnesses will be brought to testify. The court turned down the request for bail after the prosecution objected. The case is adjourned to 1 February.
LA VALLETTA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela declared that he would like to keep the schools open during the carnival holiday period and that these holidays will be added to the calendar at a later stage. This declaration was made while announcing further restrictive measures for the carnival holidays.
However the unions representing the teachers and other professionals in the education sector are opposing the postponement of the carnival holidays. Till now, the Maltese government failed to publish the COVID-19 cases in schools.
Meanwhile further restrictions were announced today to curb the spread of coronavirus and to avoid a repeat of what happened during the Christmas period. All restaurants must close by 11pm and overcrowded rental places will be fined.
Other measures include those who cross to Gozo by ferry. From 11 to 17 February, all those on the Gozo ferry must have their temperature taken. While onboard the ferry, people will be required to remain in their cars. Police will also be making additional patrols in Gozo.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne said that the country’s vaccination programme is on track and all is going according to plan. The health authorities have administered 22,371 vaccines until Tuesday 26 January. As from Thursday, people aged 80 and over will start receiving their letters notifying them when to take the covid jab. He confirmed that the surge in positive cases experienced through January was investigated by the health authorities. He added that the hypothesis were either the UK variant spreading throughout the community, gatherings over the Christmas period and the drop in temperature.
Malta registered 193 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. This brings a total of 17,192 cases with 2,682 are still active. The health authorities confirmed that three more individuals have died of coronavirus, with the pandemic claiming 258 lives to date.
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese government will announce new measures against coronavirus in the coming days to controll the spread of COVID-19 during the carnival weekend.
However localities in Malta and Gozo like Ghaxaq and Nadur which are synonymous with the carnival, have already declared that the current situation is not appropriate for the gathering of people and for the organization of events that involve masses of people. The local councils of both villages took the further step that no mass event will be organised which involves groups of people together during the Carnival days.
Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed that the government will announce new measures as a precaution to control the virus during the carnival weekend. However, failed to mention what will these measures consist of.
Prime Minister Abela also announced that bars will not reopen as planned on the 1st of February. This means that the measures in place will be once again extended. On the 31st of December, Abela announced that the government will allocate 1 million in assistance to owners of bars following the decision to extend the legal notice which will see bars and local band clubs remain closed until 1st February.
According the University of Oxford, Malta is one of the most European countries with the least strictest measures against COVID-19. The Maltese authorities are excluding a total lockdown, curfew as suggested by the doctor’s union or the closing down of schools.
According to the health authorities, Malta has registered a total of 16,999 positive cases. 2,640 cases are still active while 255 patients have lost their life.
Meanwhile, 21,172 doses of vaccine against COVID-19 were administered of which 1,463 were second doses.
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.