Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said today four new Coronavirus cases were registered in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 426.
Another eight patients have recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 99, she said in her daily briefing.
The number of deaths remains at three, which means that the number of active cases in Malta is 324.
Gauci said that 972 swab tests were carried out in the past 24 hours, bringing the total so far to 23,253.
Three of the four cases registered in the last 24 hours are of migrants at the Hal Far centre, Gauci said. They are three men – two from Bangladesh aged 24 and 18, and another from Sudan aged 28.
The other case is of an Italian man, aged 34 and resident in Malta, who was linked to another case recorded in the past days.
Replying to questions by The Malta Independent on whether Malta has the correct numbers in the official list of Coronavirus cases and deaths, Gauci explained that the majority of testing that is carried out is usually done on people who are symptomatic or people who are entering hospitals. Thus, there is the possibility that there are people who have the virus, but did not contact the Health Authorities, Gauci said. “This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to stay at home.”
Asked whether the number of Covid-19 deaths could be higher since some patients might not have been tested, Gauci said that, “people who are entering hospitals and people who are residing at elderly homes are being tested in order to identify whether any persons have the virus or not.”
She added that, “any sort of death, whether it was sudden or whether a patient dies without the doctor being able to identify the cause are tested in order to identify whether they have died due to the coronavirus or due to another condition.”
“The WHO has also issued a number of regulations and guidelines on how the cause of death is established, because we know that sometimes it is a chronic illness which leads to a persons’ death, and not the Coronavirus. We are following these regulations and guidelines as best as we can,” Gauci said.
Answering other questions, Gauci said that Coronavirus immunity is still an ongoing study. In this particular case we still do not know precisely, thus we are still following the studies and research being conducted.”
With regards to lifting measures Gauci said that, “we can’t lift measures at this point as we need to make sure that we have all the pre-requisites to start lifting them. We have not reached that point yet. We must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of other countries, where they quickly lifted their measures, and then still ended up with a large number of coronavirus cases. We must have a stable situation in our country to reverse the measures that have been taken.”
Asked when Malta will reach a plateau in the curve, Gauci highlighted that this, “will happen when we see that the reduction of Coronavirus cases is sustained.”
She confirmed that the number of infections is small in Malta, however she emphasised that it is very important for the public to continue following the measures in order to reduce the risk of infecting other people.