[WATCH] Malta registers eight new cases of COVID-19

30,000 swab tests carried out since the outbreak began

Malta registered eight new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said. 

17 new recoveries were also announced by Gauci. 

The total number of cases has reached 458, with Malta now having carried out 30,000 swab tests since the pandemic began. 

The number of people who have recovered (303) from the coronavirus, now double the number of people who have it (151). 

The cases 

The first case is that of a 52-year-old Englishman who resides in Malta. He reported symptoms on 20 April. Contact racing efforts are underway with both relatives and work colleagues, as he had continued to go to work despite symptoms. 

The second case is that of a 29-year-old healthcare worker who started showing symptoms on the 26 April. She had stopped working two days prior to showing symptoms, with Gauci saying no colleagues or patients were in any risk. 

The third case is that of a 32-year-old woman who started having symptoms on the 6 April. The public health superintendent said she had refrained from getting tested thinking she was showing symptoms of allergies. Contact tracing efforts are underway. 

The remaining five cases are those of residents at the Hal Far Open Centre. 

The five are all men, three from Somalia aged 19, 23 and 20, a Nigerian aged 20 and a Sudanese aged 31.

Testing 

As Malta reached its 30,000 swab tests threshold since the pandemic began, Charmaine Gauci was asked by MaltaToday on whether health authorities are going back to people who tested negative upon initial testing. 

Gauci said that the country’s main point of focus in testing are symptomatic people, stating the rate of contagion is higher in these people. 

But health authorities are also conducting random testing to ensure that asymptomatic individuals are not left unchecked. 

She also insisted people do not hesitate from calling 111 if they had already tested negative but are feeling symptoms.

146 tests have also been conducted at the Hal Far open centre to limit an outbreak within the centre. 

Gauci also insisted people call 111 even if they think they have allergy symptoms. 

“Looking at one of the cases we had today, had she reported to 111 immediately, we would have caught wind of the virus sooner,” she said. 

Health Authorities’ exit strategy 

Asked about Malta’s exit strategy, Gauci said authorities are still working on a “transition strategy”.

The public health superintendent insisted that an exit strategy can only be put in place once a vaccine has been created. 

“For now, we must ensure people continue to abide by social distancing measures,” she said.

Social distancing measures will also help in curbing the second wave, according to Gauci. 

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