[WATCH] COVID-19: 33 new cases as seven-day average drops to 38

COVID-19 update for 23 April | 33 new cases • 38 recoveries • 513 active cases • 1 death in past 24 hours • 1,804 swab tests past 24 hours • Vaccine doses until Thursday 301,594, including 96,631 second doses

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci
Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci

Malta has registered 33 new coronavirus cases overnight and one death, figures released by the health authorities show.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci is giving her weekly update.

A 93-year-old woman died overnight at Mater Dei Hospital, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 412.

Gauci said that Malta's 7-day moving average of new cases stood at 38 per day and only eight people were currently receiving treatment at hospital's intensive care unit.

Vaccination coverage rates | 85+ category 93%; 80-84 category 89%; 70+ category 90%; 60+ category 85%; 50-59 category 58%

She said 67% of positive cases were from the UK variant. The health authorities also traced four cases of the South African variant and three cases of the Brazilian variant.

The average age of those who tested positive this week was 42. Gauci said the number of deaths had dropped, thanks to the vaccination coverage among the elderly.

She insisted that despite the improving numbers, people should remain vigilant and continue wearing masks, wash their hands regularly and maintain social distancing.

Malta's vaccination programme has continued unabated with figures showing that until Thursday 301,594 doses were administered, including 96,631 second doses. The vaccination programme opened for those aged over 40 from today with people being asked to register at vaccin.gov.mt.

Pregnant women

Gauci said that the health authorities were awaiting for guidelines to be issued by the European Medicines Authority on whether pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.

The UK has changed its policy over the past few days and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are now being offered to pregnant women, depending on age and circumstances.

"We are following developments and if EMA gives its approval we will also offer the vaccine to pregnant women," Gauci said.

Face masks

Asked what circumstances would allow the authorities to lift the advice for people to wear face masks, Gauci said ECDC guidelines so far advise that until herd immunity is reached, people should continue to wear masks and observe social distancing.

"By time we have learnt that masks helped to slow the spread of the virus... in Israel, where the vaccination programme is well advanced, certain restrictions, including the wearing of face masks, are being lifted, and we will follow what is happening there and learn from that experience," she insisted without committing to a target date.


Gauci said that no cases of the highly contagious Indian variant have been detected in Malta. Asked whether the dire situation in India posed a risk to the rest of the world, she said the situation there was unfortunate. Cases in India have soared and hospitals are overwhelmed with some not even being able to supply patients with oxygen.

Gauci said India was a red zone and only people who have a residency permit in Malta, or are Maltese, can come here but they have to get tested before leaving and will be tested again upon arrival and asked to quarantine.

Malta's laboratories are equipped to test for the Indian variant, she added.