Updated 6.22pm with details on hospitalisations.

A total of 23 people tested positive for COVID-19 cases overnight as another four recovered, bringing the number of active cases in Malta to a record high of 415.

Of the new cases, detected from 1,618 tests, one was imported and two are linked to a cluster of patients from the Paceville entertainment district.

Authorities said contact tracing teams were now working on the other 20 cases recorded on Monday. 

Malta had previously reached 352 active cases on April 15, when the islands were experiencing the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

That number was surpassed on Sunday, when healthcare workers had 396 cases on their hands, including a one-year-old infant and a 75-year-old. Over the weekend the health authorities warned people to avoid crowded areas.

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28 people in hospital

As of Monday, 28 people who tested positive were in hospital.

Four are receiving care at the Infectious Diseases Unit in Mater Dei Hospital. No COVID-19 patient has been admitted to Mater Dei's Intensive Treatment Unit.

Another 12 patients are receiving care at St Thomas Hospital and 12 at Sir Paul Boffa Hospital. Most of these 24 patients do not need COVID-19 treatment but are being kept at the hospitals as they share their living quarters with vulnerable people or cannot adhere to social distancing measures at home.

There are no COVID-19 patients at Gozo hospital.

Malta fourth in virus spread rankings

Malta currently ranks fourth in the EU in terms of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people recorded in the past 14 days. Only Luxembourg, Spain and Belgium have higher numbers of patients, according to the European Centre for Disease Control.

However, the death toll is comparatively low, with nine deaths recorded since March. And the country remains among the top in Europe in terms of how many tests it carries out. 

Monday marks the 12th consecutive day in which the number of newly detected cases has reached into double-digits, bringing the total number of known cases since the pandemic reached Malta in March to 1,112.

There are currently more than 50 cases linked to Paceville.

In an attempt to help curb the spread, the authorities are imposing a €100 fine on those not wearing a mask in retail outlets, on public transport, on the Gozo ferry, in the Ċirkewwa and Imġarr terminals and the Malta International Airport.

And event organisers caught breaching social distancing rules introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19 will be fined €3,000.

But doctors are warning that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to come as mass gatherings remain unchecked. 

On Monday, the Medical Association of Malta said that the many cases of COVID-19 that spread during a confirmation party shows how even normal social activities and family gatherings risk spreading the virus. 

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