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COVID-19 boosters essential to save Christmas holidays

 - COVID-19 - Oct 24 SHARE ON:
COVID-19 boosters essential to save Christmas holidays

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne has emphasized the COVID-19 booster as being the ‘essential’ tool to save the winter season and all the Christmas holidays. Speaking to ONE’s PaperScan this morning, the health minister pointed to the ongoing booster rollout as being what avoids the reintroduction of restrictions over the coming weeks. Thankfully, the minister did highlight the COVID-19 pandemic in Malta as being under control, with, as of yesterday evening, Mater Dei having 15 patients and three others in the ITU due to COVID-19.

Still, receiving your booster dose when getting an appointment is ‘crucial’, said Fearne, as it will ensure that the upcoming winter holidays can be enjoyed safely and without any restrictions and/or case spikes. Two-thirds of over-70s have already received their booster dose, with new details set to be announced in Parliament tomorrow about how this rollout will trickle down to younger age groups. Defending Malta’s strategy in handling the virus, Fearne revealed he resisted calls to lift all measures as this is a very delicate situation. However, should the epidemiological situation continue to improve as it is, this could become a very real possibility soon.

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Photo Source: Mercury Holidays Ireland, Chris Fearne FB

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What will be the COVID-19 election protocols? Rules being finalized

 - Budget 2022 - Oct 24 SHARE ON:

It’s no doubt that in the event of an election, the increase of social gatherings and other celebratory activities become much more of a reality. However, with COVID-19 still lingering around with us, rules are being finalized so as to prepare the country for the general election. These regulations will target mass meetings, a possible extension to voting day and a limited access to the normally packed counting hall. Chief Electoral Commissioner Joe Camilleri is undertaking the effort to draft such a plan, alongside political party representatives and Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci. A finalized version will be presented to the commission shortly, with newsroom Times of Malta reporting that the voting process will remain the same, albeit somewhat slower.

This is because of the capping of the number of people allowed in voting stations, with special protocols being worked on for the elderly and the vulnerable. Health authorities are also still grappling with how to grant voting access to those infected with COVID-19 and those undertaking mandatory quarantine. A source told Times of Malta that ‘having crowds falling over each other and smashing on the Perspex isn’t ideal, given the pandemic situation.’ Repatriation flights will also be held as normal, but there is ongoing discussion as to how to handle travelers from restricted zones.

The pandemic’s impact has wiggled its way into elections all around the world, with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance reporting that between 2020 and last September, at least 79 countries/territories had to postpone sub/national elections due to COVID-19. There were still more than a hundred elections and referenda, so the practice is still not completely doomed for the time being. As of yet, Prime Minister Robert Abela has remained mum on election rumors, deciding to focus instead on the implementation of the recently presented 2022 Budget. Election fever is setting in however as the end of Labour’s term draws nearer as of June 2022.

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Photo Source: Times of Malta, Charmaine Gauci FB, Robert Abela FB

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Gozo should have metro access without a population increase of 50,000

 - Local - Oct 24 SHARE ON:

As studies, research and discussions into the building of the Metro System continue, the Gozo Tourism Association has expressed that the island should be included in the 25 station connection route. This should be done, the association expressed, without Malta’s sister island having to increase its population by 50,000 to create a metro connection with Malta. It in fact expressed its surprise that the transportation system set to revolutionize how we go about our daily lives on the island was not inclusive of Gozo. With another project on the agenda – the Malta to Gozo tunnel – the two massive projects have, as of yet, no connection.

The Gozo Tourism Association (GTA) argued that in the proposed argument to extend the metro only if Gozo’s population increases by 50,000 ‘does not hold water’. This mainly has to do with tourism as, in 2019, over 1.5 million foreign tourists visited Gozo for the day. During a pre-COVID 2019, Gozo also hosted 215,22 domestic visitors and 180,978 foreign visitors who stayed one or more nights in accommodation on the island. These numbers of course do not include workers and/or students crossing the two islands, with the GTA asking if this was taken into consideration when studies were carried out.

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Here are the pharmacies opening today from 9am to noon

 - Local - Oct 24 SHARE ON:
Here are the pharmacies opening today 9am to noon, 4pm to 7pm

Paola: De Paola Pharmacy, 36, Piazza Antoine De Paule;

Vittoriosa: Milia’s Pharmacy, Cottoner Avenue;

Marsascala: St Anne Pharmacy, Qaliet Street;

Għaxaq: St Philip Pharmacy, Ċeppun Street;

Luqa: Central Pharmacy, 6, St Joseph Street;

Pembroke: Pembroke Pharmacy, 87, Giuseppe Malfeggiani Street;

Sliema: Remedies Pharmacy, 144, Manwel Dimech Street;

Lija: St Michael Pharmacy, Transfiguration Square;

Naxxar: Naxxar Pharmacy, 21st September Avenue;

Floriana: Floriana Dispensary, 29, Vincenzo Dimech Street;

Ħamrun: Thomas’ Pharmacy, 796, St Joseph High Road;

Qormi: Pinto Pharmacy, 43, St Sebastian Street;

Birkirkara: Herba Pharmacy, 183, Main Street;

Pieta: St Anthony Pharmacy, 56,  St Joseph Street;

St Paul’s Bay: St Paul’s Bay Pharmacy, 504, Main Street;

Siġġiewi: The Bypass Pharmacy, Mikiel Azzopardi Street;

 Rabat: St Anthony Pharmacy, 18, Main Street;

Malta International Airport: The ‘8 Till Late Pharmacy’ is open every day from 8am to 10pm

Gozo: 9am to noon

Victoria: Abela Pharmacy, Bellavista Court, George Borg Olivier Street;

Sannat: Pisani Pharmacy, Bini Ġdid, Sannat Street

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