Updated 12.30pm with publication of official figures

Just nine new COVID-19 cases were recorded on Thursday, the lowest number since July 28.

The new cases were announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne during a news conference in the morning.

This is the 17th consecutive day that the number of new daily coronavirus cases remained below 50 and the first since July 28 that the number has fallen below 10.

No deaths were recorded for the fourth day running.

The minister also said that there are currently 23 people in hospital and the number of active virus cases is now 260.

In their daily update, the health authorities said that 29 people recovered.

A total 1,971 swab tests were carried out.

The country's vaccination drive continued with applications now open to people aged from 30 onwards. Hundreds of people were on Wednesday left waiting for hours for their vaccination appointments in a long queue snaking through the grounds of the University of Malta campus. 

A record total of 7,008 vaccine doses were given on Wednesday, the minister said. A total of 359,429 jabs have so far been given with 112,731 of them being second doses.

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