No new coronavirus cases have been reported in Malta in the last 24 hours, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Sunday morning during a press conference.
The first case was reported in Malta on 7 March. Since then, 448 cases have been confirmed so far. Fearne announced that another 33 individuals have successfully recovered.
Fearne highlighted that the epidemic showed that Malta had a robust health service and that it had been well prepared for the outbreak with widespread testing and contact tracing and quarantine measures for those at risk of infection. The health minister reiterated that the aim had always been to have a river instead of a tsunami of cases which would overwhelm the healthcare system stretching it to its limits.
The Deputy Prime Minister thanked Prof. Gauci for her work and urged the public to remain vigilant and to continue adhering to the advice given by the health authorities.
Fearne says that the last group of migrants who were rescued did not test positive to coronavirus. He says that they are no longer under quarantine. About Hal Far open centre, he says that they were segregating the residents so that not all the community has to go under quarantine every time someone tests positive.
Only a few cases required hospitalization.
The majority of patients had mild symptoms this is due to their age, Prof. Gauci said.
Dr Fearne says that the authorities will remain vigilant in order to control the second wave.
Prof. Gauci underlines the importance of protecting the elderly. She says that this cohort was the most vulnerable. 'We need to keep protecting them,' she says.
The health authorities would like to have reliable rapid tests. Dr Fearne says that the rapid tests on the market are not reliable. Some countries have banned rapid testing completely.
'I've always urged the public to cooperate in order to control the epidemic,' he says, adding that it was better to be 'over-prepared'.
'We will remain vigilante.'
Dr Fearne says that the results so far were better than predicted.
The fifteen days will start ticking off once the transmission rate is low, Dr Fearne explains.
Fearne says that the health authorities' aim throughout has been keeping the number low in order to ensure that the healthcare system can cope with the situation.
Prof. Gauci says that whether we manage to continue the curve or otherwise is highly dependent on the public's cooperation.
Speaking about blind testing of individuals or specific groups, Fearne says that they are inviting those at high risk but excludes the mandatory testing of the community. He says this might change once rapid testing is available.
The swabbing centres will remain open.
Fearne says that they would like to continue with swab tests. He highlights that if someone develops symptoms whether they are typical or not, they should call 111.
The app for symptoms is completely anonymous, Prof. Gauci says.
Prof. Gauci speaks about the development of vaccines. She says that the health authorities have showed interest in participating in wider trials. She highlights that it is not yet known whether one builds an immunity against the virus.
He explains that the app which will be introduced is for the user only and will not involve tracking.
Fearne says that the health authorities are looking at two different apps – a contact tracing app – which uses technology to identify those individuals who were at risk of contracting the virus. He says that while there is research underway, Malta was not in position to introduce this app. He says that once it is ensured that this was not a big brother scenario.
Fearne says that when the time comes the announcements will be made. He says that the epidemic is still ongoing in Malta since there are active cases. He mentions the possibility of asymptomatic individuals in the community who have not been tested so far.
The first question was asking for a confirmation or denial on schools and childcare centres. Dr Fearne says that he is not in a position to confirm or deny which measures will be lifted.
Prof. Gauci warns against the second wave. She urges the public to continue adhering to the measures.
282 individuals have recovered so far.
The geographical distribution shows that most cases were registered in the Northern Harbor.
60% of the confirmed cases were men. The majority of those who were affected were aged between 20-35.
Prof. Gauci says that immunity to the virus has not been confirmed until now.
There are 162 active number of coronavirus cases.
Prof. Gauci explains that the gradient was reaching a plateau. More than 28,000 tests were carried out on individuals out of which 448 coronavirus cases were confirmed.
Prof. Gauci takes the floor. She explains that the health authorities were constantly monitoring the situation.
A new app will be launched in the coming days.
Testing has helped in achieving this success, Fearne says. He underlines the importance of swab tests and urges the public to come forward if they develop any symptoms related to coronavirus.
Fearne warns against the second wave.
The public has been called to adhere strictly to the measures which would be kept in place once the easing off starts.
If the trend remains the same, then the restrictions will be eased in a gradual manner. Not every sector will be affected in the same way, once the easing of the measures starts off.
'We will be looking into easing measures over the coming days according to the evidence at hand,' Fearne announces.
'It's true we're celebrating but the measures are still necessary,' Fearne says.
Our healthcare system is robust. We've invested in it. We've managed to arrive at this point because the public was responsible. The public has adhered to the instructions by the health authorities. The public has cooperated fully with us.
He says that the health authorities were in close contact with their European and International counterparts.
'We've introduced measures at the right time and they were evidence based,' Fearne says.
Fearne says that the health authorities had made it clear that Malta's aim was to control the number of cases in order to prevent from having an overwhelmed health care system.
The rate of transmission is decreasing, Fearne says.
Another 33 individuals have recovered from the virus.
No coronavirus cases were detected during the overnight tests, Fearne announces.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne flanked with Superintendent of Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci starts addressing the press conference. He says that similar to when the first case was announced, the first death, the health authorities are here to announce good news.
Good morning and welcome to this live blog. Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne is expected to address a press conference at 11.30am.
On Saturday one new case of coronavirus was confirmed while an elderly patient died of the virus. Another 26 individuals recovered from the virus bringing the number up to 249.