Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said today eight new Coronavirus cases were recorded in the last 24 hours. The total is now 378, with three of the patients dying in the past days.
Health Minister Chris Fearne said this morning that another 28 patients had recovered from the virus, for a total of 44.
Of the eight cases recorded today, one was related to travelling, two are migrants at the Hal Far centre and another is a Gozitan.
The case related to travelling is that of a 61-year-old man who returned from England on a repatriation flight on 9 April. Passengers on the same flight are being contacted.
The two migrants who tested positive are aged 25 and 21. Gauci said that the open centre has now been totally in quarantine for a week.
The only case registered in Gozo in the last 24 hours was that of a 74-year-old man, who experienced slight symptoms but tested positive. His wife tested negative but is in quaratine.
The other four cases are two women aged 58 and 50, and two men aged 37 and 73.
None of these persons were working, except for one of the woman who works for another family. In this case, the woman’s own family and the family she worked for are being monitored.
Replying to questions, Professor Gauci said residents at the Hal Far open centre are being randomly swabbed and their medical condition is being followed. Random swabbing will be introduced in other areas, she said.
Asked whether the government is considering introducing apps that can help with contact tracing, Gauci said, “we are looking at these apps to see what the benefits are and are also following what other countries are doing.” Malta will follow the guidelines issued by international health organisations, she added. So far, contact tracing is based on the information given by people who test positive for Covid-19.
Asked what public health risk is posed by accepting migrants arriving by sea, Gauci said migrants have always been placed in quarantine upon arrival, even before the Covid-19 pandemic. The migrants who disembarked in Malta this week all tested negative.
Gauci again appealed to people to stay at home and not invite people over. Ideally, people should exercise indoors. Those who do not have space to do so and have to go out should keep a safe distance from other people. Vulnerable people should stay inside at all cost, she said, adding that there are several initiatives that promote indoor exercise.
Asked why fathers were not being allowed in the hospital during delivery, Gauci said restrictive measures are in place to lower the risk of infection at the hospital. In cases of normal labour, which can take many hours, the fathers are only being allowed in the delivery room for the second stage. This allows the fathers to assist their partner during the most delicate stage while also limiting the time people spend inside the hospital.
Asked about limitations on the number of people that can visit dying patients, Gauci said a risk assessment is carried out for every individual case. This is also done to avoid the transmission of the virus. Similar restrictions are in place for burials.
Asked how many healthcare workers are in quarantine, Gauci said the numbers will be provided at a later stage as the situation keeps changing. She noted that there is a special helpline for healthcare works who start showing symptoms.