Congratulations were thrown Malta’s way today as the islands were recognised for their sterling effort when it comes to dealing with the current global COVID-19 pandemic. But beyond the optimistic figures and the stringent measures, today’s kudos came from all the way up.
“Congratulations deputy prime minister Fearne for the public health measures,” WHO Europe Regional Director Hans Kluge tweeted out earlier this evening.
“Malta is on the right track and an example to follow.”
#COVID-19 Congratulations deputy prime minister Fearne for the #publichealth measures! #Malta is on the right track and an example to follow #UnitedActionforBetterHealth @WHO_Europe pic.twitter.com/P6kSNnILUN
— Hans Kluge (@hans_kluge) March 28, 2020
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Health Minister Chris Fearne proudly announced that the World Health Organisation had called Malta a “model country” when it came to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
Fearne urged the public to continue cooperating with authorities and following government measures to control the spread of coronavirus, calling current results “encouraging.”
Today marked the third week since Malta announced its first COVID-19 positive case, a 12-year-old girl, on Saturday 7th March. A further 10 new cases were confirmed this morning, bringing the total up to 149 cases. A 72-year-old man who was diagnosed earlier today has been put on a ventilator, in what marks the island’s second Coronavirus case to switch to a serious or critical condition (the previous, a 61-year-old man, is reportedly in a better condition now). The 72-year-old man, who is in Mater Dei’s ITU under specialist care, is currently suffering from bilateral pneumonia, a severe symptom of the virus.
The island has been quick to respond to the pandemic with a number of strict measures.
In the last three weeks alone, all schools and educational establishments have closed (with a later confirmation that they will remain so until the next scholastic year), all non-essential shops, non-essential services, bars, restaurants and gyms have been shut down, and all flights blocked.
A rigorous testing campaign has also seen close to 4,000 people being swabbed in a matter of weeks… one of the highest per capita in all of Europe.