Four new COVID-19 cases were discovered between Friday and Saturday, bringing the total number of cases found in Malta so far up to 426.

Three of those newly-identified infections were among residents of the Ħal Far open centre, which is currently under lockdown. 

The fourth patient is an Italian 34-year-old man who reported symptoms on April 14. He has been linked to a previously-identified patient. 

The tally of four is the lowest figure registered locally in three weeks. The last time authorities registered fewer cases was on March 29, when just two cases were recorded. 

Eight further patients have recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recovered patients up to 99. 

Authorities carried out 972 swab tests over the past 24 hours. 

The three new infections identified at Ħal Far mean that 35 infections have been idenfied in that cluster so far. 

Gauci urged people to stay indoors and warned that the low number of daily cases could very easily spike if people did not obey social distancing guidelines. 

Accurate statistics 

Authorities are running COVID-19 tests on people who die suddenly or without any clear cause of death, to ensure statistics accurately represent the total number of cases locally, Gauci said. 

The reassurance comes after China revised its calculation of COVID-19 deaths in Wuhan upwards by 50 per cent, saying a number of patients who died in the early days of the outbreak inside their homes had not previously been counted with official figures. 

The WHO has also updated its guidelines about determining when a person is judged to have died of COVID-19, Gauci said, and authorities are looking at them to adapt methodologies accordingly. 


Scientists still do not have clarity about whether recovering from the virus confers immunity, Gauci acknowledged. 

“We need more studies into this,” she said. “Research is under way and we’re keeping a close eye on it”. 

She again noted that there was also uncertainty about the validity of existing serology test kits, which can be used to detect COVID-19 antibodies in a person. 

Internationally, doubts have been raised about the validity of many existing test kits. Gauci said local authorities were testing a variety of such kits. 

A valid serology test would allow authorities to start running community tests to try and determine how widespread COVID-19 infection has spread and estimate what percentage of the population has already been infected. 

Using a faulty kit would lead to wrong data and mislead authorities, Gauci said. 

Relaxing measures 

Despite several consecutive days of relatively low numbers of new infections being detected, Gauci said it was too soon to say when measures to contain the virus could be lifted. 

Some countries, such as Japan, she noted, had lifted measures but then experienced another rise in infections. 

“We need to take decisions based on evidence,” she said.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.