Updated 6.34pm

The number of active COVID-19 cases in the country has more than doubled overnight, with 14 new cases of the virus detected overnight. 

Nine of the cases have been linked to a hotel party earlier this month, bringing the total cases forming part of the cluster up to 15. 

Health authorities renewed their appeal for anyone who had attended any event or party linked to the Hotel Takeover Summer 2020 event to immediately get tested for COVID-19, even if they were not exhibiting any symptoms, and to continue to monitor themselves for two weeks. 

The 14 new cases, none of which have required hospitalisation, were detected from 1,220 swab tests taken over the past 24 hours. 

Of the other new cases, two were imported while three were local. 

Healthcare workers are now caring for 26 patients infected with coronavirus.

Sunday's 14-case increase means Malta has now had exactly 700 known COVID-19 cases since the first patient was detected on March 7. Nine of those patients have died, while 665 have since recovered. 

It is the first time in weeks that authorities have had to contend with a double-digit one-day increase in active cases. 

Case numbers rose rapidly over the past week after a person who attended a weekend-long party at a hotel tested positive for the virus.

Six further cases were linked to that party shortly afterwards, before the nine on Sunday.

Reports that authorities have traced a further cluster to a feast celebration held in Gozo could not be confirmed at the time of writing. 

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