The COVID-19 situation in Malta remains well under control, despite the fact practically all restrictions have been lifted, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Thursday.

He also confirmed that there are no cases of monkeypox in Malta and cautioned against alarm even if cases are detected.

Replying to media questions, Fearne said there is just one COVID-19 patient in intensive care at Mater Dei Hospital after a number of days with nobody there.

“The situation is very much under control and immunity remains very good,” the minister said. 

Official figures published earlier on Thursday showed 90 new cases of COVID-19 and 1,556 current active cases. 

The minister said that over 30,000 people aged over 65 had taken the second booster dose and he was urging all those who received an invitation to take it.

‘Monkeypox is not COVID’ 

Turning to monkeypox, Fearne said there were no confirmed cases in Malta and he regretted the action of "one or two" people in the media who needlessly alarmed people.

He also stressed that "monkeypox is not COVID" even though the health authorities were well prepared for it. The closest thing to monkeypox was chickenpox, he said.

People infected with monkeypox usually suffer fever and get a chickenpox-like rash on their hands and face. 

Still, Fearne said, the government was taking the matter seriously, preparing for it in laboratories and in the procurement of medicines including anti-virals, using the European procurement process.  

Even if there were to be monkeypox cases, the situation would be the same as chickenpox, he said. Poople aged over 50 were probably protected because all those born before 1972 used to take the vaccine for the now eradicated smallpox, which also gave immunity from monkeypox.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us