The rate of transmission of COVID-19 is "lower" among those who are vaccinated, public health Chief Charmaine Gauci said on Wednesday. 

"There are studies that show the virus's viral load is less with vaccinated people and this is what we're seeing here as well," Gauci said on Times of Malta's Ask Charmaine programme.

On enforcement, Gauci said: "this is never enough for the whole population". 

"This is not enough for everyone. We're increasing as much as we can but I would be happier if I see more people following the measures. We understand everyone is tired and eager to go out but there are things you can do to stay safe," Gauci said. 

The public health chief was interviewed by Diana Cacciottolo, with questions sent in from readers via the Times of Malta Facebook page. 

On language schools, which had to be shuttered because of a spike in cases, Gauci said the authorities worked closely with the schools. 

"However, these students are young. And after school they would mix with other groups and that is the problem we saw there," Gauci said.

Asked about the situation at workplaces, where clusters have also been reported, Gauci said the authorities still do not support making vaccination mandatory, however employees should be encouraged to take the vaccine. 

She said regular testing of those who are not vaccinated is not a long-term solution. 

Meanwhile, asked about the Delta variant, Gauci said this is "slowly, slowly" becoming the main variant all over the world, although this is not yet the case in Malta. 

Gauci said there have been a total of 64 cases of the Delta variant, with some having already recovered. 

On hospital numbers, Gauci said a number of those who are hospitalised would have been admitted before they knew they were positive for the virus. These patients would have required hospital care for other conditions and are found to be infected during routine checks. 

The public health chief said the fact that just one patient is currently in ITU is a sign the vaccine works and it is leaving its mark. The patient is "stable", she said. 

Gauci also confirmed the authorities are working on recognising more vaccine certificates to allow travellers from other countries, including Canada and Australia, to travel to the island. 

'We need to take it one step at a time'

On the road to normality, Gauci said it was important to take the situation "one step at a time", insisting it was too early to speak of all restrictions being removed.

Gauci said the measures need to continue to be followed closely for now so as to avoid more spikes.

In their latest update, the health authorities said they registered 199 new cases overnight, with just 30 people recovering. 

A total of 3,976 tests were carried out. No COVID-related deaths were reported, while the number of people in hospital has gone down to 15. 

Malta is currently dealing with a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases after the numbers had dwindled earlier in summer. The health authorities have said there are over 500 foreign students infected. 

And approximately 60 per cent of the cases reported daily are non-residents while 40 per cent of those infected do not have any virus symptoms. 

 

 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us