Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
A 92-year-old woman from Gozo has become the first casualty to COVID-19. The passing away of the woman was announced within a few hours by Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne who addressed a press conference on Wednesday evening together with the Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci.
Dr Fearne expressed the government’s condolences saying that he was confirming the first death with a heavy heart. He appealed to the public to avoid gathering at home with people outside those who live together in the same residence. He stressed that it is important to continue abiding the health instructions to avoid spreading the virus within the community.
Professor Charmaine Gauci said that while the patient had underlying health conditions, the news was saddening. She expressed the team’s condolences to the family.
Prof. Gauci: The woman was living in an institution and there were many ways how the virus could have been carried, including via visitors.
Fearne: My message is not only for the elderly but also for their relatives and neighbours. Keep in touch. Call them. Message them. Let's avoid gathering, but this does not mean we do not support one another through alternative means.
Fearne: We're doing all that is possible. We need the public to cooperate with the health authorities – and avoid meeting and gathering in big groups.
Prof. Gauci: We are trying to keep the numbers down. The measures in place are the best way to cope with the situation at hand.
Fearne: Some days ago we had an agreement with Steward Health Care to move the elderly around mid-April. The plan is to transfer the patients from Dar Sant'Anna to the new residence.
'We wanted to avoid this. We do understand that elderly people might have chronic illnesses, and when vulnerable people contract the virus it may have fatal consequences,' she says.
He urges against meeting the extended family over Easter weekend.
'By and large the majority of the public has understood, why we are taking these measures,' Fearne says.
'Unfortunately, this will not be the first nor the last death related to COVID-19. We're doing the best to ensure that the number of people that contract the virus remains low,' Dr Fearne says.
On Wednesday six new cases were reported by Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci during the daily press briefing. Among the new cases is a one-month-old baby. One of the new cases was travel related. A total of 993 swab tests were carried out overnight. So far, 299 coronavirus cases have been informed in Malta.