Watch: No new coronavirus cases; Another 33 recover

Security staff wearing protective face masks and gloves wait for visitors at the side- entrance to St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta
Security staff wearing protective face masks and gloves wait for visitors at the side-entrance to St. John's Co-Cathedral, after Malta imposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals on the island in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus, in Valletta, Malta March 13, 2020. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

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.

Covid-19 | Press Conference with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne and Prof Charmaine Gauci

Covid-19 | Press Conference with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne and Prof Charmaine Gauci

Posted by Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate on Sunday, April 26, 2020
12:15 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.
Monique Agius
12:13 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.
Monique Agius
12:13 Only a few cases required hospitalization.
Monique Agius
12:12 The majority of patients had mild symptoms this is due to their age, Prof. Gauci said.
Monique Agius
12:10 Dr Fearne says that the authorities will remain vigilant in order to control the second wave.
Monique Agius
12:09 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.
Monique Agius
12:08 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.
Monique Agius
12:05 Dr Fearne says that the results so far were better than predicted.

'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.'
Monique Agius
12:04 The fifteen days will start ticking off once the transmission rate is low, Dr Fearne explains.
Monique Agius
12:02 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.
Monique Agius
12:02 Prof. Gauci says that whether we manage to continue the curve or otherwise is highly dependent on the public's cooperation.
Monique Agius
12:00 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.
Monique Agius
11:58 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 swabbing centres will remain open.
Monique Agius
11:58 The app for symptoms is completely anonymous, Prof. Gauci says.
Monique Agius
11:57 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.
Monique Agius
11:54 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.

He explains that the app which will be introduced is for the user only and will not involve tracking.
Monique Agius
11:51 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.
Monique Agius
11:50 Question time.

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.
Monique Agius
11:48 Prof. Gauci warns against the second wave. She urges the public to continue adhering to the measures.
Monique Agius
11:48 282 individuals have recovered so far.
Monique Agius
11:48 The geographical distribution shows that most cases were registered in the Northern Harbor.
Monique Agius
11:46 60% of the confirmed cases were men. The majority of those who were affected were aged between 20-35.
Monique Agius
11:46 Prof. Gauci says that immunity to the virus has not been confirmed until now.
Monique Agius
11:45 There are 162 active number of coronavirus cases.
Monique Agius
11:44 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.
Monique Agius
11:43 Prof. Gauci takes the floor. She explains that the health authorities were constantly monitoring the situation.
Monique Agius
11:43 A new app will be launched in the coming days.
Monique Agius
11:41 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.
Monique Agius
11:40 The public has been called to adhere strictly to the measures which would be kept in place once the easing off starts.

Fearne warns against the second wave.
Monique Agius
11:38 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.
Monique Agius
11:37 'It's true we're celebrating but the measures are still necessary,' Fearne says.

'We will be looking into easing measures over the coming days according to the evidence at hand,' Fearne announces.
Monique Agius
11:36 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.
Monique Agius
11:35 He says that the health authorities were in close contact with their European and International counterparts.
Monique Agius
11:34 'We've introduced measures at the right time and they were evidence based,' Fearne says.
Monique Agius
11:33 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.
Monique Agius
11:33 The rate of transmission is decreasing, Fearne says.
Monique Agius
11:33 Another 33 individuals have recovered from the virus.
Monique Agius
11:32 No coronavirus cases were detected during the overnight tests, Fearne announces.
Monique Agius
11:31 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.
Monique Agius
11:22 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.
Monique Agius

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.

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