The health authorities in Malta remain silent on the number of Omicron cases detected in recent days, despite the hundreds of new infections registered daily.

Apart from one update just days before Christmas, when Health Minister Chris Fearne said two cases of the variant of concern had been detected, the authorities have yet to provide additional information on the prevailing situation.

Announcing the two cases traced, Fearne had said the authorities expect there were more undetected cases of the variant in the community.

The Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa in November, has led to record-breaking spikes all over the world, especially in Europe where the number of new cases detected over the holiday period soared.

The world’s health authorities point to the variant as the reason behind the spike that has prompted speedier roll-outs of the booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

But while some countries provide daily information on the number of new Omicron cases and several EU members have already established what percentage of the active cases are of the variant, this is not the case here.

According to the health authorities, genome sequencing of cases, a process that identifies variants, takes some five days to carry out. However, the last update provided to the public was on December 23. This means that at least one other round, if not more, of sequencing has been carried out since.

Medical sources who spoke to Times of Malta said there was no doubt that, just like everywhere else in the world, the recent spike in cases in Malta is due to Omicron.

“In medical circles, everyone knows it is the variant behind the increase in cases. It is rather strange that the authorities have not been giving updates, at least on a weekly basis to inform the public of the situation at hand,” one doctor, who did not wish to be named, said.

Meanwhile, repeated requests for information by Times of Malta have proved futile.

Several e-mails sent to the health authorities yielded no reply or acknowledgement.

It remains unclear why the local health authorities have not provided any updates on the situation, especially as they have been keen on encouraging more people to sign up for the booster dose.



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