Watch: Authorities preparing an influenza strategy

Prof. Charmaine Gauci replies to your questions

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

As Malta slowly re-adjusts to the pre-COVID daily routine, how different is life going to be? What are the changes we can expect to stay with us for a long time and perhaps also become second nature? How can we also feel in control of a situation where a feeling of helplessness and dependency have so far led the way?

A household name, much respected will be Sylvana DeBono’s guest today on Newsbook Q&A: Prof. Charmaine Gauci, Superintendent of Public Health. 

16:54 This blog ends here. Thank you for following.

Stay safe!
Amy Borg
16:53 Editor in Chief Sylvana Debono thanked Prof. Gauci for answering Newsbook.com.mt questions.
Amy Borg
16:51 Prof. Gauci said that authorities are prepared for any kind of eventuality even for post-summer 2020.
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16:50 Asked what will happen if coronavirus cases increase after Summer, Prof. Gauci said that authorities are currently discussing an Influenza Strategy in order to control it and not confuse the symptoms with those of coronavirus.
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16:44 Asked if the amnesty given to certain people who were caught breaching measures against coronavirus is giving mixed messages, Prof. Gauci said that it is imperative that the public observes social distancing at all times.

Personal hygiene especially the washing of hands and the use of facemasks and visors are also important.
Amy Borg
16:38 Prof. Gauci was asked if actions are being taken against those using public transport and do not follow the measures against coronavirus.

Prof. Gauci said that meetings were held with the respective authorities.

Some public transport drivers were seen not wearing face masks and passengers not using hand sanitizers when boarding the bus.
Amy Borg
16:35 Asked what are the risks posed when dining outside, Prof. Gauci said that the risk of contracting the virus is higher when staying indoors rather than outdoors.
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16:32 Regarding the measures at workplaces, Prof. Gauci said that employers and employees can follow guidelines issued on the Health Promotion Directorate website.

She also said that employers can still allow their employees to work from home rather than returning to the workplace as from Monday.
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16:30 Prof. Gauci said that the authority's aim was never to scare the public but to educate.
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16:27 Regarding Prime Minister's Abela visit to Libya and why he was exempted from obligatory quarantine, Prof. Gauci said that the decision was based due to Abela's position. Also, the possible exposure time to coronavirus was also evaluated.
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16:25 Regarding the re-opening of Maltese borders, Prof. Gauci said that authorities are following the developments in other countries so the necessary measures can be implemented.
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16:20 The Superintendent for Public Health referred to statements issued by certain doctors and scientists abroad that the virus is losing its potency.

She said that studies are still being carried out and it is hard to predict what will happen of this virus.

Prof. Gauci said that in almost every country, especially in the European Union, many of the healthcare workers and carers tested positive. This is so because authorities increased testing amongst this category of workers since they get in close contact with the most vulnerable.
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16:19 She is explaining that the coronavirus is different from seasonal influenza.
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16:18 For this reason, Prof. Gauci said that this was the reason why they emphasise on social distancing and other precautionary measures.
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16:14 Regarding the vaccine:

When will it be available in Malta? Trails are still ongoing. First experiments need to be conducted in labs and then on individuals.

Prof. Gauci said that the vaccine will not be available any time soon.
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16:12 Asked why there were times she did not answer questions asked by journalists during the COVID-19 bulletin, Prof. Gauci said that her aim was to answer in a manner to safeguard the identity of the individuals who had tested positive to coronavirus.
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16:10 She mentioned her husband and her son who have supported her throughout these past weeks and months.
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16:09 She also said that a challenge they faced was to keep a healthy frame of mind especially since their working hours increased.
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16:07 Prof. Gauci said that due to the pandemic her daily work has been halted and focused mainly on treating and controlling the coronavirus.

She also thanked the rest of the team who have assisted and are assisting her.
Amy Borg
16:06 She was also the head of the infectious disease unit at Malta's hospital.
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16:05 Prof. Gauci said that she has been the Superintendent for Public Health for the past three years.
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16:04 Newsbook.com.mt's Editor-in-Chief Sylvana Debono is leading the interview.
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16:04 The interview has started now.
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16:03 The total number of coronavirus recoveries registered so far stands at 576 and there are 37 active cases.
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16:03 This Health Ministry published an infographic announcing that 14 more individuals have recovered from coronavirus.
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16:02 Today no new coronavirus cases were reported after a total of 892 swab tests were carried out in the past 24 hours.
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15:53 In the meantime, if you want to be the first to receive the latest news, by downloading the Newsbook APP.
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15:52 This is Newsbook Q&A. An interview with Prof. Charmaine Gauci will start at 4 pm.
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15:51 Good afternoon.

Welcome to this live blog.
Amy Borg

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