The number of coronavirus cases rose by 19 overnight, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 188.

Wednesday's announced tally equals the highest daily increase, which was on Wednesday March 25. 

Thirteen of the new cases were locally transmitted, the Superintendent for Public Health, Charmaine Gauci said on Wednesday.

All those patients are in good health.

Of the other cases, two remain in the intensive therapy unit and 14 are at St Thomas Hospital. Others are receiving treatment in the Infectious Diseases Unit or in isolation in their own home.  

Case details

The new cases include a Lidl employee who worked at the supermarket chain's Safi store. He showed light symptoms on March 27 and continued to go to work. Contact tracing with his colleagues and relatives has taken place.

The outlet was disinfected according to Health Department protocols and the supermarket has been cleared to open.

Gauci said it did not appear that the man - a Maltese aged 23 - had much contact with clients. Any shoppers who went to the Safi outlet and felt symptoms from March 26 to Tuesday should phone the 111 helpline.

Another case involves a woman, 65 who was at Mater Dei Hospital and was moved to the Infectious Diseases Unit after testing positive. Contact tracing with staff and other patients is underway. The woman tested positive during routine testing. 

The other new cases were women aged 24, 45, 62, 65, 20 and 27 and men aged 33, 22, 64, 33 and 42.

The imported cases involve a man, 28 who had been to the UK and was in quarantine on his return; a man, 51, who was in contact with another person who tested postive after returning to his home country; a man aged 26 who was in contact with another previously known case; a 32-year-old man who was part of a previously known family cluster; and a 19-year-old man who returned from France.

Gauci said in reply to various questions that the issue as to whether spring hunting should reopen was still under consideration on the basis of a risk assessment.

Asked how long the situation could persist, Gauci said no one knew. The number of cases was still rising and the authorities were working to 'flatten the curve' to ensure that there was no spike of cases which would strain resources. 

Asked about the fact that only two of the confirmed cases had been cleared so far, she said the virus persisted for a long time. It was important to remain indoors even if symptoms were reduced, since the virus could still be transmitted.

Asked about a Maltese couple stranded onboard a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, where cases have been reported, Gauci said the couple were not showing any virus symptoms. They would therefore stay on the ship until it returned to the UK, whereupon they would be repatriated. 

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