There are 14 COVID-19 patients currently getting help breathing through a ventilator, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Tuesday. 

In reply to a parliamentary question by independent MP Godfrey Farrugia, Fearne said since the start of the pandemic, a total of 33 COVID-19 patients needed to be put on a ventilator. 

Almost half - 14 patients - are currently still on the device. 

Health Minister Chris Fearne. Photo: Matthew MirabelliHealth Minister Chris Fearne. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Eight other patients were moved off a ventilator to receive treatment in other wards, Fearne said, while a further 11 patients on a ventilator had died. 

Malta has some 120 ventilators available.

Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci has however noted that while ventilators require staff to operate and the priority was to prevent people from getting sick in the first place.  

“You can have all the beds and ventilators in the world, but we need people to operate them,” Gauci said.

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 33 COVID-19 patients needed to be put on ventilator

Fearne provided information on the ventilators a day after a record number of new COVID-19 cases were detected on Monday. By midday, 218 patients had tested positive for the virus overnight. 

Since the start of the pandemic, 64 patients have died, with the majority of deaths being registered in recent weeks. 

Meanwhile, the health authorities have urged the public to follow the rules, especially as the coming weeks were expected to be some of the harshest. 

In parliament, Fearne also warned that the coming weeks could be the toughest for Europe, including Malta, because of the growing outbreak.

"The coming weeks, for all of Europe, and Malta is part of Europe, could be the toughest since the war. This is, therefore, the time to show solidarity, to forget partisan politics, and to work together for Malta to successfully emerge from this pandemic," Fearne said. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us