[WATCH] Coronavirus: 11 new cases, including first in Gozo, one patient has developed complications

Public health superintendent Charmaine Gauci delivers her daily Covid-19 update

Public health superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public health superintendent Charmaine Gauci

The new coronavirus cases registered overnight number 11, including the first case found in Gozo. 

One of the new Covid-19 cases - an elderly person - has developed complications and is being treated at Mater Dei Hospital, public health superintendent Charmaine Gauci said.

The 11 new cases

  • A Maltese 61-year-old man who has developed complications. The man developed a fever, cough and shortness of breath on 13 March. His symptoms worsened, and he was admitted to hospital on 19 March, when he was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia. The man is the first person to develop complications locally. His condition is not critical, but he is being treated in the infectious diseases unit to prevent further deterioration in his health. He has no underlying medical conditions.
  • A 45-year-old woman, the partner of the 61-year-old man, has also tested positive, and may have had contact with someone who travelled to Malta from abroad. She developed a cough and sore throat on 11 March. The woman does not currently require additional treatment.
  • A 54-year-old Spanish nab who works in Malta and who had travelled to Madrid, Spain between 7 to 17 March. He developed a cough and sore throat on 17 March and had been in quarantine since returning to the island.
  • A 31-year old Indian man resident in Malta. The man developed muscle aches, sore throat and a cough on 17 March.
  • A 30-year-old woman who is the mother of a three-year-old boy who had tested positive. The mother developed a sore throat and blocked nose on 18 March.
  • A 69-year-old Maltese man from Gozo who developed a fever and fatigue on 16 March. He had not travelled nor had he had contact with other people who have since tested positive. On 10 March, the man attended a meeting with several other people. It is likely that he contracted the virus from someone at the meeting who was not known to be positive, indicating more local transmission.
  • A 63-year-old Maltese man who went to northern Italy on 8 March and developed headache, cough and fever symptoms on 14 March. He went into quarantine immediately and did not expose anyone to the virus, since he lives alone.
  • A 45-year-old man who travelled to Brazil, with a flight connection through Istanbul. He developed symptoms when he returned to Malta. Contact tracing of the people who were on the same flight as his is underway. The man had travelled with another person who has also developed symptoms and has been tested, with results expected shortly.
  • A 49-year-old Malta woman who works in the private health care sector. She developed fever, fatigue and muscle aches on 17 March. The woman didn’t travel abroad and had no contact with symptomatic people. Contact tracing is ongoing. This is likely another case of local transmission.
  • A 71-year-old Maltese woman who is the partner of man who had been confirmed positive for the virus previously and was admitted to hospital on 16 March. The woman had close contact with tourists through her job. It is likely she became infected through this.
  • A 36-year-old woman who works in health care. She developed symptoms on 14 March, and likely had contact with another health care worker who tested positive last week. She had been identified through contact tracing and placed in quarantine on 14 March.

People must avoid congregating

Gauci urged people to adhere to public health authorities' appeals to avoid congregating in large groups.

“Some are still going to places where many people congregate. It is each and every one of us who has the responsibility to not congregate anywhere, since there is now local transmission and it is easy to catch the virus. Meeting en masse means putting yourself, your family and the whole nation at risk,” she said.

Gauci reiterated her call for employers to instruct their workers to work remotely, to avoid further contagion.

20% of local cases have required hospitalisation

To date, 20% of all Covid-19 cases have required the patient concerned to be hospitalised, Gauci said.

“We have a virus which is spreading throughout the world. Many cases originated from abroad, with local transmission having initially been related to cases of people who had contact with others who had travelled. But we now also have cases which we don’t know the origin of. This shows the virus is spreading locally,” she said.

“We have had the first case of complications today. There have been deaths abroad, and we might have fatalities in Malta too. So I appeal for caution, especially when it comes to the elderly. Those over 80 have a 25% chance of dying. […] We must adhere to the issued guidelines and recommendations to control the situation.”

Asked by MaltaToday about the importance of avoiding large gatherings, Gauci said that congregating outside in groups was “very dangerous.”

“We are trying to keep the curve flat so as not to hit the peak. This is being done both to lower the number of exposed persons and to enable our health system to cope with the flow. We can only say we have peaked once the number of cases starts to lessen,” she said.

“We cannot say for now many more will be infected. It depends both on the authorities' measures as well as on how the Maltese people act. If the people adhere to the guidelines, we won’t need more restrictions, and any peaks will remain low.”