Ten new coronavirus infections were detected between Thursday and Friday, bringing Malta’s total number of cases up to 422.
Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci said that the new infections were identified from 1090 tests.
Nine further patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries registered up to 91. Three infected people have died.
“The figures might sound quite small but it is important that people heed social distancing measures,” Gauci said, warning that asymptomatic cases would not have been detected.
“There could be people who are infected out there and we don’t know about them.”
When asked to say, specifically, how many of Malta’s 422 confirmed cases were among asymptomatic patients – people who showed no symptoms – Gauci declined to reply.
Answering questions, Gauci said she said that authorities were working along the assumption that a second wave of infections would hit Malta in the months to come.
"We are preparing for a second wave," she said.
Previous global experiences of pandemics suggested that such a second wave was likely, although she stressed that the novel coronavirus was a virus distinct to those causing previous pandemics.
"We will have a complete exit when we have a vaccine and the entire population is immune."
Health Minister Chris Fearne has said that the government is working on an exit strategy and preparing a plan to reverse some of the measures put in place. Gauci was asked which measures would be relaxed first, but declined to enter into specifics.
She said talks were under way at both a national and international level to see how measures should be eased.
“The important thing is to have a plan in place,” she said.
With the weekend looming and forecasters predicting good weather, Gauci again urged people to resist temptation and remain indoors.
That advice also applied to beaches and swimming spots which are generally less populated, she said.
Authorities process COVID-19 tests in six different batches every day. The first test run happens at 6am with the last one at midnight. Tests are also processed in batches at 9am, 1pm, 5pm and 9pm.
People who were tested were receiving their results by phone, text message or email. People can also access their test results by logging into their profile at the MyHealth platform.
Data published on Thursday showing virus cases by locality did not necessarily show where the virus was transmitted, she warned.
“The data we published shows where infected people live. Patients may have been infected at their workplace or elsewhere,” she said.
Case 1 is of a 31-year-old woman who returned from the UK on April 12. She identified symptoms sometime later and was in quarantine so the case is contained.
Case 2 is of a Colombian 36-year-old man who felt symptoms on April 14. He last worked a month ago and had contact with two relatives.
Case 3 is of a 35-year-old British man who was working from home. He had no contact with other people save for four relatives.
Case 4 is of a man from Nepal aged 29. He was in contact with another person who tested positive and is part of a cluster of three infected cases.
Case 5 is of a 61-year-old man who registered symptoms on April 7.
Case 6 is of a 24-year-old man who was at work for a short period of time and lived with two relatives.
Case 7 is of a 29-year-old Maltese woman who works as a carer at St Vincent de Paul home for the elderly. She was already under quarantine.
Cases 8, 9 and 10 are all of residents who live at the Ħal Far open centre and concern three men from Sudan aged 30, 24 and 26.
Authorities tested 20 people at the open centre on Thursday.