Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci has ended her daily live coronavirus broadcasts because Malta is now in a "transition period". 

After two months of the afternoon updates on the state of COVID-19, the briefings will now only happen three days a week - on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The daily tallies will still be announced but Gauci will no longer provide the briefing with journalists, which has become a fixture in many people's days. 

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She made the announcement as she said there were five new cases of coronavirus in Malta overnight following 1,017 tests. 

The new cases bring to 558 the number of people who have tested positive for coronavirus since the first case in March. However only 96 cases are 'active' after 456 recoveries and six deaths. 

So far more than 51,677 tests have been carried out, amounting to more than a tenth of the population.

New cases

A 97-year-old man, being treated at Karin Grech hospital, is among the new patients, after experiencing symptoms on May 16. He has medical conditions but is in a stable condition.

He is one of four patients at the rehabilitation hospital to test positive. 

Another new case is a 58-year-old, who tested positive after attending accident and emergency at Mater Dei.

The third and four cases are healthcare workers: a 34-year-old woman and a 24-year-old.

Lastly, the fifth case is a 41-year-old, who was tested but had experienced no symptoms. 

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Gauci revealed that there are 287 healthcare workers currently in quarantine and described this as a "substantial number". Healthcare workers are among the groups of people being heavily tested in order to identify patients that may not be showing any symptoms. 

"We ensure there is no contact with patients if they are positive, or have come in contact with someone else," she said. 

Asked about whether Malta is experiencing a 'second wave' of the virus, Gauci said that the authorities look not only at the number of positive cases but also how they are transmitted. 

She said that the authorities were currently in the process of validating antibody tests, which detect whether people have had coronavirus and now have the antibodies to fight against it. 

Responding to concerns from doctors and nurses unions over the imminent easing of further restrictions, Gauci said that the relaxation of measures was based on risk assessments. 

 

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