A total of 68 COVID-19 patients are being treated at different hospitals, Charmaine Gauci said on Friday.

Six are at the Intensive Treatment Unit, another 12 at the Infectious Diseases Unit, and further 14 at COVID-19 wards in Mater Dei Hospital.

All of those in ITU are aged under 72. 

Fourteen people who tested positive for COVID-19 are being cared for at Sir Paul Boffa Hospital in Floriana, and another 19 at St Thomas Hospital in Qormi.

One person is at Karen Grech Hospital, another one at Mount Carmel Hospital and another patient is being cared for at the Gozo General Hospital. 

The Superintendent of Public Health gave the details during a news conference about the coronavirus situation in Malta.

On Friday Malta registered 122 new cases and 36 recoveries. Four deaths were registered over the past seven days, bringing up Malta's death toll to 45.

Over the past week the R factor was recorded between 1.5 and 2, Gauci said.

Malta has more than 1,000 active COVID-19 cases and several entities are calling on the authorities to step up measures that would help curb the spread.

Among others, Health Commissioner Charles Messina has called out the authorities over "lax" enforcement of COVID-19 measures, urging for mandatory wearing of masks everywhere except at home.

479 active cases are linked to family clusters

Gauci said Malta is experiencing the third peak since August, with the average new daily cases hovering around 100.

The situation at elderly homes is now under control, she said, adding that the authorities had implemented measures and was carrying out assessments at other homes to avoid a repeat of the outbreak. 

There are three COVID-19 cases at Has-Serh home for the elderly. 

A total of 156 have so far been linked to the workplace, after 40 new cases were this week traced to colleagues.

Another 165 cases were this week linked to family members with coronavirus. A total of 479 active cases have so far been traced to family clusters. 

Another 121 have been linked to gatherings since July.

Gauci urged people who have come in contact with COVID-19 cases to isolate immediately. She said the virus was of a 'cumulative' nature - the more a person exposed themselves to COVID-19, the higher the chance of getting it.

She also urged employers to adopt teleworking and called on employees not to hang out after for a long time after work.

Eight cases diagnosed this week were imported, detected out of 155 random tests, while another 18 were registered in Gozo. 

Most of the people who tested positive over the past seven days were aged between 25 and 34, while the average age of patients stands at 38.4 years.

'Wear a mask covering your nose and mouth'

Gauci said new measures that will help curb the spread of COVID-19 will be announced over the weekend.

She urged people to wear masks as they protected the wearer and those around them. 

"Use a good mask that fits over your mouth and nose and sit under your chin. Avoid masks that keep slipping off your nose. 

"Always carry a spare mask on you as accidents do happen," she said. 

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