Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said four new Coronavirus cases were registered in the last 24 hours, while eight more patients have recovered.
In all, Gauci said in her daily briefing, the number of cases has climbed to 431, with 126 recoveries. There have been three deaths, and so the number of active cases is 302.
Three of the cases recorded in the last day were of migrants at the Hal Far Centre, which brings the total of cases there to 38, Gauci said.
They are three men – a 24-year-old from Morocco, a 17-year-old from Somalia and an 18-year-old from Sudan.
The other case is of a Maltese man, aged 59.
Of the eight recovered patients, four are aged in their 20s, one in the 30s, one in the 40s, one in the 60s and one in the 70s.
Gauci said that 574 swab tests were carried on Sunday, a lower figure than usual.
She however warned that anyone with symptoms should inform the authorities, whatever day it is.
She said that there are 16 patients at Boffa Hospital, eight at St Thomas Hospital, nine at Mater Dei Hospital and another two at the ITU there, two at Mount Carmel and two in Gozo (with the latter two now in quarantine as they have reovered).
Asked by The Malta Independent on whether the mode of swab testing is accurate and correct, Gauci said that “this is the best swab test one can make use of; however; like every other test it might have a number of shortcomings.” She also added that “there are a number of antibody tests which are being carried out but we need to be careful and make sure that they are valid.”
The health authorities are trying to identify as many cases as they can. Due to this reason they have made a number of appeals for people to come forward if they feel any symptoms.
Asked about the situation of vulnerable prisoners at CCF, Gauci said that “we are trying to find the best way of controlling the situation in order to reduce the risk of having the virus in the facility, infecting vulnerable people.”
Asked questions by other media houses Gauci said that like other countries, the coronavirus seems to be affecting males more than females. She explained that this could either be because “females have certain hormones which protect the body from the virus, but it could also be due to smoking, which seems to be more common among men.”
She confirmed that the R-factor situation in Malta has decreased, however this is very much dependent on the number of positive cases, on the local transmission of the virus, as well as the cooperation from the public. She appealed that “people who have symptoms are to contact the health authorities as soon as possible for necessary testing, not only to give them the care they need but also to have the correct number of coronavirus cases in Malta.”
Asked about the rate of false negatives in Malta, Gauci said that “it is very important to follow the chain of the testing process from beginning to end, and ensure that it is being done correctly.”
“False negatives occur because when the swab test is carried out, the person might not have enough virus particles to catch the virus at the time, however this is taken into consideration when modelling is carried out.”