[WATCH] Six new COVID-19 cases registered overnight, six more recoveries

Follow us live as Charmaine Gauci gives her daily coronavirus situation update at 12:30pm

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

Six new COVID-19 cases have been registered in the past 24 hours after 1,120 swab tests, bringing the total number recorded to date to 496.

There have also been six more persons who have completely recovered from the virus. In total 433 have so far recovered, and 58 cases remain active. The number of deaths remains five.

The new cases involve:

  • A 48-year-old Maltese woman, who had been in quarantine after contact with her COVID-19-positive mother
  • A 51-year-old Maltese man
  • An 89-year-old Maltese man who is a patient at Karin Grech and was in the same room as a COVID-19-postive person who has since died. The rest of the ward where the patient was being housed were also tested, as were staff members - all were negative. The elderly man is in stable condition.
  • A cluster of three cases involving two Mater Dei Hospital healthcare workers - both 27-year-old Maltese women - and a 53-year-old Maltese man who was being treated in the ward of the two infected nurses. All other staff and patients in the ward were tested negative

The amount of cases which require hospital treatment is low, with only two patients currently recovering at Mater Dei Hospital, three at Boffa Hospital, and three more at St Thomas Hospital.

Gauci reiterated her appeal to maintain social distancing and avoiding contact with others unless necessary.

She also urged people not to visit their elderly mothers on Mother's Day, which is being celebrated today.

Impact of lifted measure must be assessed before more relaxations

Asked by MaltaToday when more measures will start being lifted, given the low numbers of new cases which have been registered in the past weeks, Gauci said this would depend on the assessment of what impact the lifting of restrictions this week has had.

As from the start of this week, a number of shops, including clothes stores, were allowed to reopen.

Gauci said that, since the coronavirus had a incubation period which could last up to 14 days - and because measures were relaxed from Monday - this meant that it would take till the end of next week to assess the impact of the lifted measures.

"When we consider the R-factor - the rate at which the virus is transmitted - we want this to be at less than 1 or at a moving average which is stable," she said.

"In the coming weeks we will evaluate the situation, and if it remains stable, we can announce that further measures are being lifted."

"The message is clear: the virus is still with us. So precautions still need to be taken," Gauci underlined.

Regarding asymptomatic cases, she said that until recently 20% of cases demonstrated no symptoms, with this rate dropping to 11% if Ħal Far open centre cases are not considered.

The 11% rate has now risen to 13% after new data was taken into account, Gauci said.

"The [increase in asymptomatic cases] is to be expected, because while previously we were only testing people with symptoms, we are now also testing those without, so the rate will rise," she said.

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