More police officers will be deployed on the streets to enforce COVID-19 prevention measures, Robert Abela said late on Thursday.

The Prime Minister was speaking to journalists following the first session of an EU summit in Brussels.

"We are strengthening enforcement of existing restrictions by increasing the number of police officers on the streets so that they can make sure that people follow the COVID-19 preventive measures while encouraging the wearing of face masks," he said.

Malta on Thursday hit a record of 112 new COVID-19 cases. The grim announcement was made hours after a spokesman for the Office of the Prime Minister said that government updates on the stepping up of enforcement would be given "shortly".

On Thursday night Abela said that all member state leaders were worried about the increase in COVID-19 cases and enforcement of measures and the wearing of masks would help curb the spread.

He said that an appeal against the closure of economies had been sounded during the summit session.

"We need to maintain a delicate balance between the economy and health. This is a very important balance in a situation that could last months. It is not just a matter of implementing or increasing restrictions but a matter of remaining sustainable in the short, medium and long term."

Post-Brexit trade talks

Speaking about Brexit, a topic also on the summit's agenda, Abela said that although the European Commission's Head of Task Force for Relations with the UK Michel Barnier was hopeful that an agreement will be reached by the end of the year, "there is currently more uncertainty than certainty".

European leaders on Thursday demanded that Britain "makes the necessary moves" to unblock stalled post-Brexit trade talks, putting the onus on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to rescue a deal as time runs out.

While leaders will strive to reach an agreement, they will not do so for the sake of striking a deal, but will ensure that the deal would be a good one for the EU, Abela said.

Malta, he added, was prepared for any eventuality.

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