Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said 11 new Coronavirus cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, all of which were locally transmitted.
The number of cases is now 213; the first cases was registered exactly four weeks ago.
The cases include a two-year-old girl, who is now the youngest Coronavirus patient, and a migrant resident at the Hal Far open centre.
Addresing the media, Gauci said that a legal notice was issued on Friday, backdated to 7 March – the day when the first case was registered – declaring a public health emergency to give the superintendent of public health wide-ranging powers to take all measures necessary to eliminate the threat of Coronavirus.
She said that three of the patients are being treated at Mater Dei Hospital’s ITU, including a 61-year-old man who is still in critical condition and in still intubated. Another 10 patients are at the Infectious Diseases Unit, two at the psychiatric unit, four at Boffa Hospital and 16 at St Thomas Hospital. The remaining patients are being monitored while still in their home.
Gauci said that two of the 11 cases recorded in the last 24 hours were two patients who went to Mater Dei Hospital on unrelated conditions – they are a 74-year-old woman man and 66-year-old man. In both cases, a risk assessment exercise is taking place to see which patients and other staff were in close contact with these two people.
Among those who tested positive in the last 24 hours was a two-year-old girl, who experienced symptoms for the first time on 3 April, and a second migrant who resides at the Hal Far open centre. Gauci said that he had no connection with the first migrant who tested positive on Friday but, as happened that time, the other migrants who shared the same compound with the infected migrant have been isolated.
The other new Coronavirus patients are men aged 50, 46, 24, 31 and 35, and women aged 28 and 40. One of the men is a health worker, while two others are foreigners.
In all, 9,702 swab tests have been carried out, 659 of them in the last day.
Answering questions from the media Gauci said that, “the patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus will eventually be tested in order to distinguish whether the virus has left their system or not.”
Gauci added that, “based on evidence, we are reviewing the protocol on the best way to test these patients as there are a number of different protocols on the way the test is conducted.”
With regard to keeping the curve as flat as possible, Gauci remarked that, “up until now, the number of people who have tested positive is increasing at a steady pace. The measures that were announced were solely done to safeguard the citizens but also to avoid a situation where several people are infected in a short space of time, putting a lot of pressure on our health system. Our aim is to provide each and every coronavirus patient with the best care possible.”
A question asked by this newsroom regarding the concern expressed by statistician Vince Marmara on the reproduction rate of the virus, which at present is one person transmitting the virus to 1.5 people, Gauci said, “there are diverse studies conducted by statisticians which show the amount of people one person can affect.”
She said that “the Coronavirus generally has an ‘r-factor’ of 2.2, however, in Italy the ‘r-factor’ has even increased to 3. The reason that in Italy the r-factor is higher is because there is more local transmission.”
Gauci added that, “we are working on reducing this r-factor, and assessing the situation we currently are in. The more we reduce the ‘r-factor’, the less people will contract the virus, thus the less people will need treatment.”