[WATCH] COVID-19 briefing: 103 new cases, 332 recoveries and four deaths

COVID-19 update for 26 March | 4 deaths • 103 new cases • 332 recoveries • 1,853 active cases • 2,252 Swab tests past 24 hours • Vaccine doses administered till Thursday 166,104

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

103 new cases of COVID-19 were registered on Friday, the health ministry has said.

166,104 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered until Thursday. Of which 48,933 were second doses.   

Total recoveries stand at 26,480, while total cases registered stand at 28,715.

There are 1,853 active COVID-19 cases.

Four persons died in the last 24-hours. All men, aged 68,72, 73 and 80. All of whom died at Mater Dei Hospital. 

The total number of deaths is 382. 

2,252 swab tests were carried out in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of swabs to 797,899.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said that 20 people were in the ITU at Mater Dei Hospital.  

Other admissions: 6 in infectious diseases unit • 54 in other wards • 4 in Gozo hospital (2 ITU) • 14 in Sir Paul Boffa hospital • 15 in St Thomas hospital • 14 in the Good Samaritan facility • 16 in Mount Carmel Hospital.

Gauci said that persons over 75 who are able to go to the clinic physically are asked to call 145 to receive their invitation for the COVID-19 vaccine.

78% of cases detected in Malta are the UK variant, which has been found to be more infectious than the original strain. Gauci warned that the variant was a "concern."  

Gauci said that once again, the largest cluster is household gatherings with 177 cases. She appealed for people not to gather and to stick to their own households. The second-largest cluster was social gatherings with 39 cases.

85 of the 1,853 active COVID-19 cases are from Gozo.  

Gauci said the COVID-19 vaccine is leaving its mark on care homes for the elderly, as only seven cases were found over the last week. Five residents and two staff members.

“It is clear that the vaccine is working,” she said.

Gauci said that just like the rest of Europe Malta is still waiting for the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson and Johnson to be shipped to the island. When it arrived, Gauci said the health authorities will change the programme accordingly. 

Vaccinated patients died of COVID-19.

Asked by the media about six persons who were fully-vaccinated but still died. Gauci said nobody had a 100% efficacy rate after the vaccine. She said this was why the most vulnerable should continue to follow measures.

Gauci confirmed the deaths but said the majority of persons vaccinated are protected.

No testing for persons arriving from green zones

Gauci said that because Sicily was listed in the green zone, which meant the risk was low, there was no need for persons arriving via the catamaran to be tested or quarantine.

Gauci also added that 7,011 are currently in quarantine; this included persons in contact with positive cases and those arriving from red zone countries.

Lockdown measures

Gauci said the authorities are currently in the process of drafting a plan that would smoothly ease the country out of partial lockdown, which is due to end on 11 April.