[WATCH] Public Health Superintendent: 10 new coronavirus cases

Ten new cases of coronavirus patients reported on Saturday 28 March, four of which are instances of local transmission

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

There have been 10 new cases of coronavirus patients reported on Saturday 28 March, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said.

These included four local transmissions, bringing the total cases up to 149.

New cases:

  • A 72-year-old Maltese national who is in a critical condition. He initially reported suffering from slight chest pain, but had no fever. The man is now being treated at Mater Dei's ITU under specialist care. He is suffering from bi-lateral pneumonia and is on assisted ventilation. He was said to have been in contact with a relative who had contracted Covid-19 from abroad. The first test on the man had resulted in the negative, the second positive.
  • A cluster of three Filipino patients who came to Malta on 13 March; originally, a family member of theirs had Covid-19 symptoms. The three patients - two men and a woman, all in their 40s - reported a dry cough and slight fever.
  • An Englishman resident in Malta, 69, who arrived back from the UK and had muscle pain symptoms. He arrived on the island with his family of three, and went into self-isolation.
  • A Maltese 30-year-old man who came back from France. He first registered symptoms on 24 March, saying he had lost his sense of taste and smell. Contact tracing is underway.
  • A female health care worker, 34, who had suffered sore throat symptoms. Contact tracing of her work colleagues and relatives is underway. This is a case of local transmission
  • A Maltese man, 36, who is the partner of a previous Covid-19-positive patient, and is another case of local transmission. The man reported with fever and diarrhoea symptoms on 21 March.
  • Two Indian nationals, who were household contacts of another positive case and were tracked down through contact tracing. They contracted the virus at their workplace and are part of a cluster of seven people. These two cases are also instances of local transmission.

"As we have seen, we've had various cases. Some affected young health people who presented with mild symptoms and no complications. But, as we are experiencing, there have already been cases of people over 60 which present chances of complications, especially when there are underlying conditions or the patients are already being treated for another health issue," Gauci said.

Persons living in same household as elderly and vulnerable should limit leaving home

On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced that anyone over 65, together with those suffering from certain chronic conditions, should not leave their home. He had said that relatives or other persons living under the same roof as people in these categories should also not leave their home. 

The next day, however, the government backtracked on part of the measures, saying that those living in the same home as over 65s and vulnerable people could in fact leave their home to go to work, do their shopping and carry out other necessities.

Asked by MaltaToday to clarify what the health authorities' position was regarding people living under the same roof as over-65s, Gauci said that ideally they should try to work from home, or ensure social distancing measures are in place at their workplace.

"People living in the same household can pose a risk to vulnerable persons. We are therefore recommending that, where possible, such people should avoid going to work. We are in fact encouraging employers to offer teleworking. In a situation where remote working is absolutely not possible, then that person can go to work - but there must be social distancing measures in place to limit the chances of transmission at their workplace," Gauci said.

"It is important that once that person returns home from work, they also apply social distancing from the elderly or vulnerable people who live with them. The recommended measures are for the vulnerable person concerned to stay in their own room and use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Contact during mealtimes should also be kept to a minimum," she said.

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