Two new COVID-19 cases were identified from 1218 swab tests overnight, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in Malta to 482.

One of those newly-detected cases concerned an 81-year-old man who died overnight, becoming the fifth COVID-19 casualty since the virus reached Malta on March 7.   

The man was being treated at Karin Grech hospital and had other underlying medical conditions, including heart, respiratory and liver problems.

Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci did not answer a question about how many other patients were in the man's ward.

The second cases was of a Maltese 44-year-old man who first exhibited symptoms on May 3. He was not going to work and authorities are contact tracing among his family members.

Five patients are being treated at Boffa Hospital, with another four at St Thomas Hospital. No patients are currently in intensive care. 

Four more patients have recovered from the virus, meaning a total of 403 cases have now recovered. Two of those recoveries are in their 20s, one is aged 30-39 and one is 80-89. 

Healthcare professionals are now overseeing 74 active cases. 

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Post-mortem testing 

Gauci explained that authorities were testing bodies of people who died whenever their doctor detected respiratory symptoms which they suspected might have been linked to COVID-19. 

Mask-wearing

Gauci emphasised the importance of wearing face masks correctly. Wearing a mask with your nose exposed, she told people, defeated the whole purpose of wearing one. 

Masks were made mandatory for people entering shops and buses as of Monday, although fines are not applicable to rule-breakers. Nevertheless, Gauci said, shop attendants are obliged to ensure people wear masks and are empowered to refuse entry to anyone not wearing one. 

The same applies to bus drivers. 

Wearing a mask, Gauci said, did not exempt people from respecting social distancing rules. People wearing masks must still remain 2m away from each other. 

Vulnerable people

People considered vulnerable to complications arising from COVID-19 should remain at home and only go out for essential shopping or appointments, Gauci reiterated. 

“We’ve been very careful about protecting vulnerable groups, and that’s why we haven’t seen the high death rates some other countries have experienced,” she said. 

All people aged over 65, all pregnant women and people with one of a number of predefined medical conditions are considered to be vulnerable.

Remote working

All work which can be done remotely should continue to be carried out that way, Gauci said, as gatherings of people should still be avoided wherever possible. 

Skolasajf

Gauci said that it was too early to determine with certainty whether government-run summer school Skolasajf would take place this year. 

Applications for summer school are open and around 3,000 children have been enrolled so far. Earlier on Tuesday, Education Minister Owen Bonnici said that the intention was to run the summer school as of July 1, although that would depend on health authorities' blessing. 

 

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