Watch: 243 new cases and two deaths; 75% of new Covid-19 cases linked to UK variant

Three out of four new Covid-19 cases found this week were linked to the UK variant, Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said today. 

Speaking during her weekly briefing, Gauci said that the percentage of cases linked to the more transmissible variant is increasing. 

243 new cases of Covid-19 were found over the past 24 hours, bringing the number of active cases to 3,034.

ADVERTISEMENT

The total number of cases now stands at 27,515.

Two more patients have died, for a total of 363.

The authorities said the patients who died were; a 75-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman. Both died at Mater Dei Hospital.

334 people recovered, for a total of 24,118.

4,760 swab tests were performed over the past 24 hours, for a total of 772,206.

Up until Wednesday, 133,871 doses of the vaccine had been administered, of which 41,621 were second doses.

 

The situation in hospitals

Gauci said there are currently 229 people in hospitals, either receiving care or in isolation.

There are 29 – a “substantial” number at Mater Dei’s Intensive Therapy Unit, 13 at the Infectious Diseases Unit and 87 in other wards.

There are 8 patients at the Gozo General Hospital, including three in ITU. There are also 19 patients at Boffa, 21 at St Thomas Hospital, 5 at Karin Grech, 31 at the Good Samaritan facility and 16 at Mount Carmel.

Gauci said there are now over 40 vaccination centres in operation. Anyone over 80 who has not yet received their vaccination letter is urged to call the health authorities.

 

145 helpline beefed up

Gauci said the 145 helpline has been beefed up with more staff. There are now over 50 people answering calls. She said, however, that people should avoid calling unnecessarily. “If you are part of the cohorts that are currently being vaccinated, you will be receiving your letter in due course.”

If you are in quarantine and you receive the letter inform us in 145 and do not go out … you will be given another date when you recover.

Gauci said there are currently 229 people in hospitals, either receiving care or in isolation.

There are 29 – a “substantial” number at Mater Dei’s Intensive Therapy Unit, 13 at the Infectious Diseases Unit and 87 in other wards.

There are 8 patients at the Gozo General Hospital, including three in ITU. There are also 19 patients at Boffa, 21 at St Thomas Hospital, 5 at Karin Grech, 31 at the Good Samaritan facility and 16 at Mount Carmel.

Gauci said the 7-day moving average now stands at 268 cases.

 

Increase in UK variant cases

Community transmission has increase and 3 out of every four new cases found this week were related to the highly transmissible UK variant.

In fact, the rate of cases related to the variant increased from 8.3% in February to 75.5% on 13 March.

Because of the increased transmission rate, people need to be much more careful, Gauci said.

The situation at care homes has improved, with only a few cases reported, none of which were serious, she said. This is due to the fact that most elderly persons have now been vaccinated.

 

Most new cases related to household clusters

Most new cases are related to household clusters. Gauci said this is why private gatherings have now been limited to two households. “Avoid meeting people and keep to your own household bubble,” she appealed.

This does not apply if people need to have people come over for maintenance or medical care, but in that case, close contact should be avoided.

Gauci noted that the number of active cases has gone down. 142 of the active cases are in Gozo. Most cases are in the 20-49 age bracket. The average age of people who tested positive over the past week was 39.4

“As long as we have people needing hospital care we will continue seeing deaths.”

The majority of deaths were people aged 80 to 84, but the average age has gone down, mainly due to the fact that many old people have now been vaccinated.

 

Questions

Gauci said that 732 swab tests were perfomed on passenges arriving from abroad between 11 and 16 March, and none resulted positive.

From the total amount of swabs being carried out daily, around 800 to 900 are rapid tests. If a rapid test is found to be positive, the person would go through the normal procedure of quarantine even though a PCR test would not be taken.

After the press conference, Gauci opened the conference for questions from the journalists. The topics discussed were the Astra Zeneca vaccine, other approved vaccines and also the Covid-19 variants.

Throughout the vaccination rollout, a number of double appointments were reported. Gauci said that the reason for this is that, “due to the fact that certain people fall into separate cohorts of vaccination, their appointment is given twice […] if a person is given two appointments, the second appointment will be automatically deleted from the system and his or her appointment will be given to someone else”.

With regard to the Astra Zeneca vaccine, there were no reported cases of severe side effects, only some minimal side effects such as a light fever, headache and soreness were reported, Gauci said.

As things currently stand, the r-factor is 1.5. It has gone down since new mitigation measures were put in place a couple of weeks ago.

During the past couple of days, the European Medicines Agency has approved the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and Gauci confirmed that it could be administered to people aged 18 and above.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is not expected to arrive in Malta any time soon and Gauci said that, “our timeline for vaccine rollout is based on the vaccines we have already and the introduction of other vaccines will boost this timeline”.

The vaccination program is moving forward as planned, Gauci confirmed and so far, 80% of all appointments given have taken the vaccine.

With regards to other vaccines, Gauci said that Malta will only use vaccines which are approved by the EMA. This was regarding the Russian vaccine and the possibility of its use in Malta.

 

You can watch the press conference below.

watch 243 new cases and two deaths 75 of new covid 19 cases linked to uk variant - Watch: 243 new cases and two deaths; 75% of new Covid-19 cases linked to UK variant

Back to: HomeBLOGMalta PropertyMalta Activities