An 86-year-old woman has died after contracting COVID-19, making her Malta's 16th victim since the start of the pandemic, the Health Ministry announced. 

The elderly woman tested positive for the virus on August 30 and was admitted into Mater Dei hospital.

She was transferred to St Thomas Hospital on September 2 and admitted again to Mater Dei three days later. She died at the Infectious Diseases Unit overnight. 

Last week Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci warned that there were three patients aged over 80 in the Infectious Disease Unit that were not in a stable condition.

Health authorities said that she was suffering from underlying medical conditions and expressed condolences to her family. 

The woman is the fourth person this month to die with COVID-19. The last casualty in Malta was an 80-year-old man who died on Thursday

It comes amid an increase in cases of the virus among the elderly, one of the groups most vulnerable to the disease.

More than one in ten patients currently being treated for coronavirus are in nursing homes. 

On Sunday, health authorities said 57 of the 465 active COVID-19 cases are in residential homes. 

More than half of those are in St Joseph's Home in Fgura, while Simblija, Casa Antonia and Casa San Paola homes also have patients. 

The homes have introduced measures such as 'safe bubbles' on all floors, regular testing and quarantine periods for new residents. 

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