Low positive test rate shows Malta keeping Covid-19 under control, Fearne insists

coronavirus swab test centre hal farrug
Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne cited Malta’s relatively low proportion of positive Covid-19 tests as proof that the country is keeping the pandemic under control.

However, the statistics held by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) do suggest that the low proportion of positive tests is largely due to one of the highest testing rates in the EU. On the other hand, the proportion of positive cases is now at the lower end within the 27-nation bloc, where many countries have been seeing numbers increase in recent weeks while Malta’s numbers remained largely stable.

The latest ECDC figures show that Malta carried out 4,194 tests per 100,000 people, a rate only bested in Luxembourg (12,880), Cyprus (9,068) and Denmark (8,658). In four countries – Romania, France, Bulgaria and Poland – fewer than 1,000 tests were carried out per 100,000 population.

3.36% of Covid-19 tests in Malta turned out to be positive, the fifth lowest rate in the EU: the lowest rate of 1.73% was registered in Denmark. At the other end of the scale, 48.6% of tests carried out in Poland confirmed the presence of Covid-19.

8th lowest rate of new cases

In the past 14 days, Malta has recorded 305.7 cases per 100,000 population, a rate bested in only 7 other EU member states. In three member states – Luxembourg (1,170.6), Croatia (1,141.6) and Lithuania (1,062) – the number of new cases per 100,000 people exceeds 1,000, meaning that 1% of the entire population was infected in the past two weeks.

Ireland is the only country in which the number of new cases per 100,000 people is less than 100, at 75.2.

The fatality rate in Malta, however, is higher than the number of new cases would suggest: at 8.9 deaths per 100,000 people over two weeks, Malta registered the 16th highest death rate within the EU.

The highest proportion of Covid-19 deaths is being recorded in Slovenia (27.1 deaths per 100,000 people), followed by Bulgaria (26.7) and Hungary (20.6). The lowest rates are being registered in Finland (0.7), Ireland (1.4) and Denmark (1.5).