Malta's COVID-19 death rate is no longer the lowest in Europe, fresh data has confirmed.
This marks the first time in weeks the island has not registered a death rate of zero.
According to the weekly European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) update on the COVID-19 situation in Europe, Malta's 14-day death notification rate per 1,000,000 inhabitants stood at 1.94. The rate was still among the lowest in Europe, although Czechia, Sweden, Hungary, Austria, Denmark, Slovenia, Estonia and Finland all had lower rates.
The ECDC's rates are worked out from the previous weeks’ figures. The latest numbers reflect the situation between July 12 and July 25.
Meanwhile, Malta's infection rate continued to increase over the past weeks and is now 490.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 379 last week. Compared to the data published a week ago, the island's rate climbed up one spot to become the fourth-highest in Europe.
Only Cyprus, Spain and the Netherlands registered more cases than Malta in the period under review.
And for the third week running, the ECDC again put Malta on its red travel list.
A country is classified as red if the notification rate falls between 75 and 200 and the positivity rate is higher than four. Malta's positivity rate is currently 5.7, the ECDC data showed, down slightly from 7.6 in the previous update.
The latest data also showed that the weekly hospitalisation rate dipped slightly when compared to the previous period under review. The rate now stands at 2.3 new admissions per 100,000 people, down from 3.3.
The number of new infections stabilised in recent days after peaking earlier in July. In recent days, the number of new positive cases have hovered around the 100 mark.
The authorities have said they are currently monitoring the situation in hospital closely to establish whether the spike in cases in the community is reflected in the number of admissions.
They believe the vaccines will have a significant impact on this and although people might still get infected, they will not require hospital care as much as they would have without the vaccine.
Health Minister Chris Fearne said the situation needed to be monitored for a few more weeks before any such conclusions are drawn.
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