People who attended Sta Venera festa activities last week have been urged to get tested for COVID-19, after a reveller who took part in a band march tested positive for the virus.

In a notice posted on Facebook, the Health Ministry said that the patient in question had gone to the Sta Venera band club on Wednesday, July 22 and the band march the following day, Thursday, July 23.

The patient is one of three sporadic cases discovered on Sunday – a day when authorities reported a total of 14 new cases.

“People who attended these events are encouraged to call 111 to get tested and monitor for symptoms for 14 days,” the ministry said.

Although the Curia has cancelled festa celebrations for the year due to COVID-19 concerns, band marches are still taking place in towns and villages across Malta.

Church denies responsibility

In a statement on Monday the Curia urged the public to respect directives of the medical authorities.

It recalled that this year, it had directed that village feasts would consist only of Mass and a pilgrimage.

It was not therefore nor responsible for any band marches. Responsibility rested with the organisers and the civil authorities who approved them, in this case the band clubs and the police. 

Some festa organisers have however called off all events this year.  One such organisation, Żagħażagħ Brijużi Dinglin, said last week that it was cancelling its annual march celebrations and spitroast pork dinner out of caution. 

"We believe that people’s health comes first and foremost," the organisation said. 

Public pressure to call off mass events has grown in recent days after a weekend-long party at a Pembroke hotel sparked a cluster of infections, more than doubling the national number of active coronavirus cases.

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