52 new cases were reported on Thursday by health authorities, as the decrease in Covid-19 cases continues.
146 people have recovered, meaning that the number of active cases now stands at 740. 32 of those cases are in Gozo.
Two men aged 69 and 71 passed away at Mater Dei Hospital during the last 24 hours while Covid-19 positive, taking the number of deaths up to 394 so far.
1,762 swab tests were administered on Wednesday, taking the total number of swab tests up to 811,102 so far.
197,383 doses of the vaccine have been administered up until Wednesday, with 54,578 people having received both doses.
In her briefing, Gauci said that the seven day moving average of new cases has now decreased significantly to 68. The number of people who tested positive when compared to the number of tests administered is now down to a seven-day moving average of 3%.
76% of the new cases found in the last week were cases of the more transmissible UK variant, while the average age of the new cases found in the last week stands at 39 years of age.
113 people are currently receiving treatment in hospitals across the country. 14 people are receiving treatment in ITU, while another 10 are receiving treatment in the IDU. 44 people are in other wards in Mater Dei Hosital.
Four people are currently in the Gozo General Hospital – one of whom is in the hospital’s ITU.
14 people are in Boffa Hospital, while another 13 are in St. Thomas Hospital. 8 cases are in the Good Samaritan Long Term Care Facility, 4 are in Karin Grech Hospital, and another 2 are in Mount Carmel Hospital.
162 of the cases found between 22 and 28 March were traced to households. Another 55 were traced to social gatherings, another 17 to workplaces, and another 8 to institutions.
Gauci noted that there had been a significant decrease in cases in elderly homes – namely due to the vaccination efforts there – with only three cases – one staff members and two residents – found at care homes from 16 March to the present.
Malta has had 29,085 cases of the virus so far. 27,951 of those have recovered, and 394 have died.
Taking questions from the press, Gauci said that Malta is waiting for the shipment of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which will be integrated into the island’s roll-out vaccination scheme once it arrives. It is not clear if the vaccine will arrive by April or later. The vaccine will be given to those 18 years and above.
It is unclear when the ban on flights to the UK will be lifted, however the green pass – a documentation which will allow vaccinated individuals to travel between countries without the need of a negative test result – is being considered by the health authorities. For the time being, all passengers arriving in Malta must present a negative Covid test, irrespective of whether they come from a green-list country or otherwise.
Asked about police officers’ authorisation to enter homes to see if Covid measures are being respected, Gauci said that the Public Health Act allows her to give delegated authority to a number of enforcement agencies in Malta – among them police officers. This delegated authority will allow police officers to enter a home only if a report has been filed or there is suspicion that there is a gathering of people which breaches the restrictions in place.
Studies are ongoing to confirm if herd immunity will be affected by the UK variant and other variants of concern, Gauci confirmed, since the majority of positive cases in Malta are stemming from the UK variant.
Addressing the 6 fully-vaccinated individuals who died from Covid-19, Gauci said that 3 of these cases were confirmed to be positive with the virus less than 14 days of receiving their second dose, while the latter three cases died after two weeks of receiving their second dose. The sex, age and the possibility of underlying health conditions of these individuals is classified. Only a small amount of people have died after receiving the vaccine and Gauci urges everyone, especially the elderly and those with low immunity, to take the vaccine. In the meantime, she urges the general public to adhere to the restriction measures in order to protect those who have yet to get the vaccine.
Gauci commented on the testing of the Pfizer vaccine on children in the European Union, which is currently in its third phase of clinical trials. The trials are being performed on adolescents between the years of 12 and 15 and so far it has proved to be an effective and safe vaccine on younger cohorts. She hopes that the vaccine will eventually be given to adolescents and younger children, so long as it is approved first.
She concluded by urging Maltese and Gozitan citizens to be responsible over the Easter holidays and adhere to the measures in place.
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci addressed her weekly Covid-19 briefing this afternoon, given that Friday is a religious holiday.
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