[WATCH] Coronavirus: Five new cases from more than 600 swab tests

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci says 637 swab tests were carried out in the past 24 hours, as the health authorities step up their efforts to identify sick people • Total number of cases so far stands at 156

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

Malta registered five new cases of coronavirus overnight, bringing the total to 156.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said a record 637 swab tests were carried out, as the country continues to increase its testing rate.

Three of the new cases contracted Covid-19 abroad, while two are local transmission. Contact tracing is ongoing. All these patients are doing fine.

Gauci said five patients were being held at Mater Dei Hospital's Infectious Diseases Unit, 17 at the private St Thomas Hospital, and four in intensive therapy.

One of the persons at ITU remains critical and is on a ventilator.

All other positive patients are at home and being followed by primary healthcare doctors through phone calls and video conferencing. Spot checks are also being carried out to ensure these people remain quarantined inside.

Gauci reiterated her appeal for people to remain indoors unless it is absolutely necessary to go out. "If people obey the rules we can continue as is but if these are flaunted, more restrictive measures may be needed," she added.

She said vulnerable people were sent a letter over the weekend to inform them of the legal notice that came in force on Saturday. Anybody who has not been contacted and believes their condition falls under the vulnerable categories can communicate with the health authorities via email: [email protected].