The number of people being treated for COVID-19 has plummeted to 33, with Malta's vaccination drive credited for the reduction. 

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci announced the latest figures in her weekly update on COVID-19 in Malta.

The numbers show hospital admissions have halved in a month, dropping from 69 on April 16 to 33 on Friday.

Of those, just four are being treated in intensive care, seven are in the infectious diseases unit, while six are in other wards.

There are 13 patients in Paul Boffa hospital and three in Gozo General Hospital. 

"We can clearly see the huge impact of the vaccine on hospitals," Gauci said, adding that for a second week in a row, there have been no new cases in homes for the elderly. 

Her briefing comes after more than a week of zero new deaths linked to the virus and with active cases falling below 200. 

On Friday, Malta recorded just one new case of COVID-19 out of 2,017 tests. The last time such a low daily figure was reported was July 27 last year. 

Watch the update below

Gauci began her briefing by crediting Malta's vaccination drive for being behind the low numbers of new cases. 

She reiterated that on Monday, Malta open registration for those over 16. Under 18s will be given the Pfizer or Moderna jab.  

While health authorities had said Malta will be the first country in the EU to offer the jab to 16-year-olds, Hungary has recently begun to do so. 

How is COVID-19 being spread?

Of the cases reported this week:

  • 23 were imported;
  • 20 were linked to households;
  • 8 were from social gatherings;
  • 3 were from 'institutions';
  • 3 were connected to workplaces.

There were no cases linked to education or sports, however there were two 'isolated' cases in primary schools, she said.

Gauci said that some people showed symptoms of COVID-19 after arrival in Malta "even though they presented the certificate", showing a negative test.

"We know that people develop symptoms within 14 days from exposure to the virus," she said. "This is what is happening with tourists and that is why we insist on mitigation measures."

Therefore the wearing of masks remains mandatory in public places, people are encouraged to continue to get tested if they feel symptoms, and mass events, including religious feasts, remain banned. 

"Mass events do not have a place in a pandemic," she said. 

Of those who were vaccinated, just 0.6 per cent have since tested positive for COVID-19, according to latest data, Gauci said.

So far, aside from the UK variant, which is dominant in Malta, there are five cases of the South Africa variant, 22 of the Brazilian variant and no cases of the India variant. 

She confirmed that none of the group of 70 people rescued at sea this week tested positive for COVID-19.  

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