Just a single case of coronavirus has been registered in Malta, after 803 tests - a lower number than has been carried out recently.

The daily figure was revealed ahead of a news conference by Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci on the coronavirus situation in Malta. 

In her update, Gauci also said that the reproductive number - the number of people that each infected person will pass the virus on to - has returned to one. It had increased in recent weeks. 

Her briefing follows the first weekend of hairdressers and restaurants reopening in the latest easing of restrictions. 

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She said: "It’s nice to see them opening and working within the mitigation measures - everyone has the power to control the situation. You will always have a few people who don’t understand how serious it is but we will keep on sending out the message about how to prevent the virus and keep people safe."

The new case brings to 120 the number of active cases of coronavirus in Malta, after 485 people recovered from the illness and six people died. 

Gauci acknowledged that Sunday saw a fewer number of people being tested for the virus but said this was a trend, with fewer people wanting to get swabbed on a Sunday. 

She encouraged more people to get tested "because if we find positive cases we can control it."

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Gauci provided details of 11 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the weekend.They included several healthcare workers and a patient at Karin Grech rehabilitation hospital.  

She said the "strategic transition plan", which includes a gradual lifting of restrictions, has been created through "scientific risk assessment" and that it will continue as long as "everything remains as is".

Reopening childcare centres

Over the weekend, Prime Minister Robert Abela said childcare centres, which have been closed for months, could reopen soon. 

Gauci said health authorities were deciding on the best measures to deploy to decrease risk. 

She said: "It is more difficult to control children than adults, so we are working on mitigation measures based on hygiene and not having long periods of contact or large groups."

Regarding the lifting of some restrictions on visiting elderly in nursing homes, Guaci said that Perspex sheets were helping to keep people protected, as were appointment times to reduce the number of visitors at one time.

Authorities have also finalised validation on antibody tests, which detect if someone has already had the disease and may have developed immunity. 

"Some groups have been tested and been finalized and once those are finished we will go to another stratified sample of the community to see what level of immunity we have in our population," she said.

The new cases

Gauci provided details of 11 people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the weekend. They included several healthcare workers, a group of people who were related to known cases and four people who showed no symptoms.

  • A 29-year-old Maltese woman, who was screened at her workplace where all other staff tested negative;
  • A 24-year-old Maltese female healthcare worker in a private practice, who was also found through workplace screening. She wore protective clothing so did not pose a risk of exposure;
  • A 23-year-old Maltese man, also a healthcare worker in the testing hub, and who was wearing protective clothing;
  • A 34-year-old Algerian man who came to get tested before starting a new job;
  • A 51-year-old Maltese man and a 25-year-old Maltese man, who are part of a cluster;
  • A 43-year-old Maltese woman, who works at Karin Grech, and showed no symptoms;
  • A 63-year-old Maltese woman who is a resident at Karin Grech rehabilitation  hospital, and who showed symptoms on May 20;
  • A 19-year-old Maltese woman, who works in a pharmacy but wears a visor;
  • A 28-year-old Maltese man, who experienced symptoms on May 18;
  • A 64-year-old Maltese Man who also showed symptoms on May 18. His wife is in quarantine and has displayed light symptoms but has tested negative;

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