Twelve people confirmed positive for coronavirus in Malta overnight, bringing the overall number of cases to 443, with three deaths.
However, a third of those who have contracted COVID-19 have now recovered, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said.
Watch the news conference as it happened:
An 80-year-old man is among the 150 people on the islands to have recovered from the virus that has spread around the world in months.
And she revealed that one of the two patients being treated in intensive care has now left the unit. He remains on a ventilator.
Of the new cases, 12 people tested positive from 726 tests. The new cases included clusters of people in the same family and at the Hal Far Open Centre, which has been under mandatory lockdown for weeks.
The cases include:
- Three people in the same family: A 34-year-old man, a 32-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman, all Maltese.
- Two people from the same family: an 81-year-old Maltese man and a 48-year-old Maltese man.
- A 27-year-old Maltese woman, who works in an office but is not in contact with clients.
- A 50-year-old Indian man, who last worked on April 18.
- A 33-year-old Syrian man, who lives alone so the case is contained.
- A 28-year-old Ethiopian man. A risk assessment is being carried out at his workplace.
- Three cases from the Ħal Far open centre: a 22-year-old Libyan man, a 30-year-old Eritrean man and a 41-year-old man, also from Eritrea.
On Monday, Gauci revealed that the rate of infection on the islands has dropped to 1.1, meaning that those with COVID-19 are passing it on to an average of one other person.
But she appealed to people with symptoms to continue to show up for test appointments, and revealed that there were hundreds of no-shows over the weekend.
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She reiterated the appeal on Tuesday and said that authorities were contacting those who missed their tests.
Gauci also revealed that there have been cases when the swab tests have led to nosebleeds, and that authorities are looking at ways to minimise the risks.
She said the authorities were now making preparations for a "second wave" of the virus, including stepping up the testing of certain people such as carers working with the elderly.
Third of patients recover
Asked about the third of coronavirus patients that have now recovered, she said authorities follow international guidelines on how people can be declared as recovered.
"We wait 14 days until we once again carry out a test. If this is negative, a person remains under quarantine for another week," she said.
"If a person notices that symptoms remained or they've increased, the person should once again call in order to get tested once again."
She said there was a patient who tested negative on April 1 but then his symptoms got worse and so we tested again and he is now positive.
"This could be either because he had another virus or else the COVID-19 virus was very weak," she said.
"That is why we insist people stay home whenever they have symptoms."
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