This past week came with an interesting mix of stories; from Malta’s pop-icon Ira Losco giving birth to a baby girl to a set of controversial COVID-19 stories – it’s safe to say that there’s been a lot of content to go through.
Having said that, here are six of Malta’s biggest stories of the past week.
1. Woman turned away from Mater Dei gynaecology department
A Maltese woman was turned away from Mater Dei Hospital’s gynaecology department by a security guard who mocked her in sheer disbelief that she could be female.
Rather than apologise for her initial error, however, the security guard doubled down and told Gabriella Cassar Meli, the victim of said attack, “give me a chance so I can laugh a bit.”
Shortly after the news broke, Mater Dei’s management issued an apology to Cassar Meli. Malta’s Parliamentary Secretary for Equality and Reforms Rosianne Cutajar also weighed in on the issue, writing on social media, “Gabriella’s bitter experience is clear proof that even though we have made great strides as a country, we still have a lot to do to educate everyone.”
2. Two celebrity families welcome their first daughters
This was a great week for celebrity births, as not one, but two local icons welcomed their first daughters into this world.
On Monday, Sphinx Pastizzeria’s Vinu Muscat and his partner Zoe Milton were united with little Robyn Paige. Now, Vinu and Zoe are the proud parents of three children; two boys and a girl.
Last Saturday, local pop icon Ira Losco and her chef-husband Sean Gravina welcomed baby GiGi, their second-born. Losco underwent a planned c-section that morning and her husband took to Facebook in the afternoon to let the world know that both mother and daughter are healthy.
3. Malta witnesses a crackdown on IPTV streaming
A court-ordered injunction led to IPTV transmissions being halted in Malta last week, as Italian authorities and international companies push to end the illegal streaming of premium content in various European countries.
IPTV usage has skyrocketed in Malta in recent years. Broadcasting Authority statistics from 2017 state that at least one in five Maltese households utilise IPTV services. This number is expected to be higher nowadays.
The latest development in this case saw €13,000 in cash, 150 IPTV devices, 48 smart satellite cards, and two smartphones seized in a joint police operation requested on behalf of the European Investigation Order (EOI). The warrant was limited to search and seizure only, therefore no arrests were made.
4. Woman gets positive antibody result after testing negative three times
Sammy McEleny, a British national residing in Malta found COVID-19 antibodies in her blood despite having had three negative PCR tests. But McEleny’s experience wasn’t last week’s only COVID-19 related controversy.
An emergency patient was suddenly discharged from Mater Dei Hospital at 2am and left to wait outside because of COVID-19 regulations. This prompted the husband’s patient to lambast the health authorities, saying that “not even an animal should be left in the street, in the cold, at two in the morning.”
Last Friday, the virus also claimed Malta’s youngest victim – Qormi’s 46-year-old mayor Renald Falzon. His death came just weeks after his father reportedly died of COVID-19.
5. Keith Schembri and Joseph Muscat left Yorgen Fenech chat after hearing of middleman’s imminent arrest
Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his former chief-of-staff Keith Schembri once again made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Last week it was uncovered that Muscat and Schembri left their shared secret WhatsApp group with Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech soon after they were informed of the imminent arrest of middleman Melvin Theuma.
Lovin Malta is informed that the two left the WhatsApp group by the end of October 2018 – days after Chief Homicide Inspector Keith Arnaud informed them of their plans to arrest Theuma.
6. Bolt Food couriers speak up against drop in rates
A seemingly innocent series of images of a delivery man carrying both Wolt and Bolt Food bags prompted mild uproar from the country’s community of couriers.
Bolt Food drivers started questioning the independent contractor model that binds them to the delivery company after a drop in hourly rates resulted in one driver facing temporary suspension and another being booted out.
Soon after the two couriers hit the headlines, Bolt reactivated their accounts, as the CEO of TXF Tech – the partners for Bolt in Malta – Sebastian Ripard spoke to Lovin Malta to clarify the pricing restructure.