Malta’s Covid-19 reproduction number has dropped below 1 for the first time in a month, now standing at 0.86, statistician Vincent Marmara told The Malta Independent on Sunday in his exclusive weekly video blog on the Covid-19 situation in Malta.
The reproduction factor of the virus is one of the key figures which countries across the world have been trying to reduce ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The aim for countries has been to reduce the ratio to a level of 1 – which would mean that one person would transmit the virus to one other person.
Malta’s reproduction number had not exceeded 1 since last May, however it did exceed that number on 4 August, when Malta was facing a renewed peak of cases.
The number of cases have since decreased however, with Marmara showing how there were 164 cases found in the past week – significantly less than the 274 found last week and the 374 in the week prior.
He noted that it was also another week when the number of recoveries was higher than the number of new cases, and that over 14,000 swab tests were carried out in the same period.
The percentage of positive cases from the number of swab tests has also decreased when compared to previous weeks.
Indeed, 1.1% of the tests carried out in the past week resulted in positive results. This is down from 1.8% in the past week, 2.2% in the previous, and 2.1% in the week before that. It is also less than the figure from four weeks ago – which stood at 1.3%.
Marmara said that when applying all this data to the reproduction number mathematical model – which is an SEIR model similar to that used in the UK – it shows that the reproduction number now stands at 0.86.
Marmara noted though that even though the number is now below 1, all measures pertaining to social distancing remain important. “The reproduction number is less than 1 because of all the measures we have taken and followed”, Marmara said.
Giving an explanation about the situation overseas, Marmara noted how the number of daily cases has decreased in Spain in a situation which is similar to that in Malta.
Meanwhile, cases in the UK have increased slightly, but at a very low rate. In France meanwhile the situation is completely different, with a substantial increase in recent cases. There has been an increase in cases in Italy as well, but not at the same rate, while the number of cases in Germany has remained stable.
Marmara noted that the scholastic year will open soon in Malta, like it has done in many other countries, and said that it would be reasonable to expect some increase in case numbers because of an increase in contact.
If they do increase though, all contact tracing can be done, Marmara observed.
He said that by keeping things into perspective, and following all guidelines and the direction of contact tracing, the pandemic can be kept under control with a low infection rate. “Only then can be move to help with living more comfortably and with a certain sense of normality and tranquility”, he said.