One patient has tested positive for COVID-19 overnight, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said on Sunday as she urged people to continue following social distancing measures.

This brings the total number of positive cases to 427, of which 306 are active. Another 19 people - 14 men and five women - have recovered, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 118. Three have died and two are in intensive care. One of the latter remains on a ventilator, the other is being kept in ITU for further monitoring.

Five of the recovered patients are in their 20s, four in their 30s, four in their 40s, three in their 50s, two were in their sixties, and one in her 80s. One of them had been at Gozo General Hospital. They will remain in quarantine for the time being.

A total 787 swabs were carried out overnight, bringing the total number to 24,042.

Gauci explained the lower number of tests carried out overnight was due to people not turning up for appointments they were given. She said the authorities were contacting those who had missed their test to find out the reasons why. Anyone who experienced symptoms, she said, should still be tested even if their symptoms disappeared as they might still be passing on the virus if they had it.

The positive case is a 29-year-old Serbian woman working and residing in Malta. Her work colleagues are currently being tested.

Gauci urged people to continue following the social distancing measures saying the low number of cases were due to this.

She said that when the health authorities confirmed that figures had stabilised, measures would start to be reduced gradually. The situation would also be monitored and would go back to any measures reduced if numbers started to go up again.

Asked about testing at the ─Žal Far open centre, Gauci said 20 tests were conducted on Saturday, none of which yielded a positive result. Migrants were to continue being tested  “section by section”.

Fielding questions about possible delays in the importation of medical equipment, medicines and protective clothing, Gauci said that Malta had thought of this beforehand and supplies were being continuously stocked up.

In response to whether the health authorities should start testing the public at random to identify cases that were not being discovered through contact tracing, Gauci said that they would continue to “strengthen” testing as it was one of the ways to contain the spread of the virus.


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