Malta has just 120 ventilators in stock, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne has confirmed with Lovin Malta after announcing further lockdowns to curb any massive outbreak of COVID-19 in the country that will major burden on the healthcare system.
Through an EU joint procurement scheme, the government should be getting 100 more, Fearne said, insisting that the state was working on bringing in more from other manufacturers. However, other countries were proving reluctant to allow their suppliers to export ventilators because they want them for themselves.
Fearne explained that there were currently 100 ventilators in Malta and a further 20 in Gozo.
A ventilator is a machine that helps a person breathe by getting oxygen into the lungs and removing carbon dioxide.
It’s crucial in fighting lung disease or other conditions that makes breathing difficult, like serious cases of COVID-19. A shortage of ventilators will put lives at risk.
Fearne has just announced that, as of Saturday, there will be a lockdown for people older than 65, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses. 118,000 people will have to stay at home.
Police have also been empowered to break up public gatherings of more than five people.
The measures, Fearne explained, are crucial to prevent Malta’s healthcare system becoming overburdened.
The state has also blocked all flights and closed all non-essential shops, non-essential services, bars, restaurants, and gyms, among others.
The total cases of coronavirus in Malta have now reached 134 after five new cases were confirmed this morning.
All of the coronavirus patients are in good health, while a 61-year-old man who became Malta’s first critical case last week is no longer in a critical condition, although he remains in ITU.
Two have officially recovered while the majority are isolating at home. The rest of the patients are receiving treatment at Mater Dei and St Thomas Hospital. They are being treated through pain relief medication like paracetamol.
Doctors are continuously monitoring the situation of the patients who are isolating at home.
If you believe you are suffering from the coronavirus, follow the following guidelines:
Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, as you would with the flu.
Do not go to Mater Dei, the emergency department, health centres, private clinics, or pharmacies. Stay home and call the public health authority’s helpline 111.
If you are returning from any country, do not break self-quarantine rules or you will be subject to a €10,000 fine.