Updated 1745 News Portal Update
Times of Malta reports that in a symbolic move, PN rules out action against Simon Busuttil over Egrant
MaltaToday reports that UĦM ordered industrial action among healthcare workers
Newsbook reported that Prime Minister didn’t breach ethics but should have kept mask on
TVM reports that the police said that they will be arraigning another man in connection with the case of an elderly woman who was defrauded of thousands of Euro in what is being termed as online romance fraud.
Updated 1300 – Covid-19 Update
The Health department reported 136 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, while 149 patients recovering, ensuring a slight decline in the number of active cases.
An 85-year old man became the 265th fatality of the virus.
3,431 swab tests were taken, meaning the positivity rate lingers around 4%.
Prime Minister Robert Abela said that Gozo is a mine of opportunities and that the Government is committed to exploit the whole potential that the island may offer.
90% of persons who lost their job in Gozo were re-employed
Speaking during a business breakfast, organised by Gozo’s Regional Development Authority, PM Robert Abela said that by the end of May, the number of persons registering for work in Gozo was double the level at the beginning of the pandemic. However, by beginning of 2021, 90% of those who lost their job due to the pandemic were re-employed by the beginning of the year, which is a higher proportion than that of Malta.
The event served as a backdrop during which a document on the vision for Gozo was launched.
PN presents Covid-response proposals
The Nationalist Party has presented a set of proposals drawn up by its Covid Response Team which includes inoculation programme for the masses.
The Spokesperson for Health and The Pandemic Response, Stephen Spiteri, said the PN is warning there should not be created a sense of security regarding the pandemic situation and the Government must strive to avoid the collapse of the health system.
While acknowledging there is a limit on the supply of vaccines, as being experienced also by other countries, dispensaries and family doctors should be given the opportunity to carry out inoculations so as to reach the herd immunity as quickly as possible, the Opposition said.
Three Slovak men arrested on kidnapping offence
Three Slovakian men were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a fellow countryman earlier this week. According to a police statement, a 30-year old was approached in Mellieha, asked to drive to l-Ahrax tat-Tunnara, where he was threatened with a knife.
The Independent says that the government and the opposition disagree on a report on the appointment of persons of trust. The government says the system is allowed by the Venice Commission while the opposition says it weakens public functions.
L-Orizzont reports on the launch of a €2.2 million fund by the government to support bars and clubs that were ordered to remain closed to limit the spread of the pandemic. Business owners will receive between €1,260 and €2,870.
The Times reports that rental property owners will be fined €3,000 if they found hosting more people than the licenced limit. People gathering at rental properties will be fined €100 each for overcrowding.
In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech who said that survey results by the Chamber of SMEs published this week is worrying. The study finds that two-thirds of SMEs are not confident they will survive until next year.
The Independent quotes Water Services Corporation CEO Ivan Falzon who said that a water reservoir built by the British in Luqa, is unique in its features. The structure known as the underground cathedral, will be restored with an investment of €500,000.
The Times says that the European Medicines Authority has approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca for use on all adults. Malta ordered a million doses from the pharmaceutical company.
In-Nazzjon says that Malta’s slide in the Corruption Perception Index is the result of the government’s refusal to change direction, despite a change in Prime Minister and a new Attorney General.
L-Orizzont announces that the results of a voting intention survey will be published in It-Torċa on Sunday. The survey was conducted between the 25 and the 28 of January by statistician Vincent Marmara.
Keep social distancing after taking the jab – Prof Gauci
People who receive the Covid-19 vaccine will still need to follow social restrictions to protect themselves, including social distancing. Prof Charmaine Gauci, said this while addressing the weekly Covid-19 briefing, adding that some people have tested positive for the virus in the period between receiving the first dose and the second.
She explained that these people had already been exposed to COVID-19, suggesting they received the vaccine during the virus’ incubation period. 50 people tested positive after taking a first dose of the vaccine.
24,680 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Bars to get €2,870 in support
Bars will be receiving a one-time payment of up to €2,870 to cover expenses incurred for closing down for a number of months during the pandemic.
In total, €2.2 million will be allocated to commercial bars, bars that are housed within a club (kazin), and bars owned by clubs. Commercial bars will be receiving €2,870, clubs forming part of a kazin will receive €1,860, while bars owned by non-political clubs will receive €1,260.
Health authorities reported 185 new Covid-19 cases, and 174 recoveries. Three more patients have died due to Covid-19, bringing the total number of fatalities to 264. There are now 2,695 active cases. These cases were identified from 3,280 swab tests.
Elderly persons in the 80 to 84 age group and living at home will start receiving letters of appointment for the Covid-19 vaccination in the coming days, with dates, times, and location for the first and second dose of the vaccine.
Malta wants fair minimum wage regulations
Together with a number of other European Union members states, the Maltese Government signed a letter in order to turn the proposal by the European Commission for the Directive on adequate minimum wages into a recommendation. These member states including Malta believe that the Directive as proposed does not take into account the different realities of member states.
While taking part in a multilateral videoconference with the Ministers of Employment of the signatory countries of this letter, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela reaffirmed that while Malta supports the objective behind the Directive of every worker’s right to a decent living, Malta believes in a national policy for setting the minimum wage that takes into account the national characteristics of each country.