As 2020 comes to a long-awaited close, we can’t help but look back at the stories that defined this abnormal year. From countless COVID-19 stories to some major political exposés, this year’s news cycle might have been one of the most important in Maltese history.
Having said that, here are the 12 stories that left the biggest impact on Lovin Malta’s audience. Here we go!
British tourists who arrived in Malta in March were informed of the new quarantine rules after their arrival. When they arrived at the hotel, they were advised that they would have to quarantine for 14 days at their own cost. One of the tourists had a brain tumour, another had a blood clot, and another had COPD. The group thus booked a flight home the next day and spent a night at the airport.
Refuse-collection worker Olandu John Bright spoke to Lovin Malta after being attacked by his boss following a salary dispute. Olandu said that he worked for 10 to 11 hours a day for 21 days for just €1.20 an hour. A Maltese woman started an online fundraiser for Olandu shortly after the story surfaced, earning him upwards of €2,000 in 24 hours.
In a now-deleted video uploaded to Facebook, Ryan Fenech alleged that his parents were attacked by a migrant in Buġibba, all whilst speaking disparagingly about the migrant community as a whole. The video was viewed over 200,000 times and shared over 4,000 times before it was deleted. Days after the video was uploaded, it was found that the alleged attack did not involve any violence and was not reported to the police.
The 19-year-old daughter of “extremist” religious group ‘Jesus the Saviour Community’ spoke to Lovin Malta about being raised in a “cult” which the Archdiocese of Malta has disassociated itself from. Members of the group weren’t allowed to vote in elections, weren’t taught about science, and were discouraged from seeking medical help.
Refuse-collection worker Dave Maoga explained how his boss threatened to fire him after he requested some time off to recover from an illness. Maoga had been collecting rubbish since July 2019 and had only ever requested time off to sit for his exams.
Days after Malta registered its first case of COVID-19, a 29-year-old Belgian man and a 27-year-old Maltese woman tested positive for the virus. This served to bring the country’s active COVID-19 cases up to nine. Both cases were imported. Presently, Malta is set to receive 1.6 million doses of potential vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, the three most advanced vaccine candidates.
Two months after being found covered in blood in a Siġġiewi road, Moira the dog found a loving forever home. Moira was quickly treated for her bloody eye and was set on a path of recovery and rehabilitation shortly after being found. To mark a new chapter in her life, Moira’s new family also officially changed her name to Bianca.
State witness in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case Melvin Theuma was hospitalised after a suicide attempt. An ambulance and several police cars could be seen outside Theuma’s Swieqi house. Both mental and physical health experts are currently evaluating Theuma, as court requests are launched to bring him back to the stand.
Constable Francesca Zahra’s life was thrown into disarray after a viral TikTok of herself dancing was memed alongside images of Floriana FC supporters celebrating their Premier League win whilst clearly breaking social distancing laws. Back in June, police were considering charging her with computer misuse, although to this day it is not yet known whether she ever faced any disciplinary measures.
Nationalist MP David Thake claimed that an unnamed Junior Minister had sexual relations with Yorgen Fenech – the man charged with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. The journalist’s son, Paul Caruana Galizia, made the same claims a day prior. Since then, it was found that a number of political figures exchanged hundreds of messages with Fenech – these include Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis, former Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, and former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
Third country nationals were told to pack up and leave by employers who said they would not be renewing their work permits over COVID-19 fears. This all went down just days after Malta registered its first positive virus case.
Lovin Malta broke the story of the country’s first COVID-19 case back in March. The first person to get infected with the virus was a pre-teen Italian girl living in Malta. She has since recovered. Health authorities project the COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Malta by the first week of January.