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€98 million generated by the film industry during the pandemic

 - Business - Jan 12 SHARE ON:
€98 million generated by the film industry during the pandemic

A study has shown that last year, the film industry left €68 million in the economy from 22 different International productions. It was also revealed that from 2020 up till December of last year, the local film industry generated a whopping €98 million in the economy. This despite the difficulty experienced during the COVID-19 which left devastating effects on several sectors. 

This was announced by Film Commissioner Johann Grech during a press conference alongside Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo. The Commissioner explained how during the pandemic, 31 productions took place in Malta – varying from local to international works. 

International works include productions from Japan, Norway and Italy. ‘This means job opportunities, so last year we continued to work on our strategy to create even more opportunities and careers in a sector which is having massive success in our country’ said the Commissioner. Grech said that thanks to hard work starting from 2019 onwards, the film industry in Malta is leaving fruit. So much so that during the last three years, over 2,000 jobs were generated. 

Minister Clayton Bartolo highlighted the importance of the film industry, saying that it was extremely resilient even in the face of a pandemic. ‘This is all thanks to the local productions and all the productions we bring throughout the year in order to make this industry into a sustainable one instead of a seasonal one’ said the Minister. 

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15 inmates positive for drugs after 3347 tests in 2021

 - Local - Jan 12 SHARE ON:
15 inmates positive for drugs after 3347 tests in 2021

15 people were found to be positive for drugs after 3,347 drug tests were carried out last year in the Corradino Correctional Facility. 

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri revealed the statistics in parliament in response to a Parliamentary Question tabled by PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami. The latter asked for the number of prisoners found to be positive in a drug test. 

The Minister said that this means that only 0.45% of all tests in 2021 found a person to be positive for drugs. ‘After someone tests positive, investigations are conduced to establish the facts and decisions are taken as needed.’ 

‘Contrary to previous administrations, drugs are not tolerated in the prison, so much so that tests are frequent and every positive is taken seriously. This helped the prison become drug free over the past years’ he added. 

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Spanish PM says its time to consider COVID endemic but WHO disagrees

 - COVID-19 - Jan 12 SHARE ON:
Spanish PM says its time to consider COVID endemic but WHO disagrees

The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a warning on Tuesday against treating COVID-19 as an endemic illness, like the flu, rather than as a pandemic. 

Touting how the spread of the Omicron variant has not yet stabilised, the warning follows comments by Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez last Monday. 

Sanchez had stated that it may be time to change how it tracks COVID-19’s evolution to a method more similar to how it follows the flu. This is because ‘lethality has fallen’ said the PM, implying the switch to endemic treatment. 

He said that it would be a gradual, cautious process but said that it is time to open the debate ‘at the technical level and at the level of health professionals, but also at the European level.’ 

However, WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe Catherine Smallwood said that ‘we still have a huge amount of uncertainty and a. Virus that is evolving quite quickly, imposing new challenges. We are certainly not at the point where we are able to call it endemic.’ 

The US National Institutes of Health says that a virus (like COVID-19) transitions from pandemic to endemic when a virus does not go extinct but merely drops in prevalence and severity over a long period of time. 

It remains to be seen what approaches Spain will take to make this transition from pandemic to endemic treatment. The question also arises whether other countries which have low hospitalisation and death rates as well as high vaccination rates, like Malta, will follow suit. 

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Record number of irregular migrants repatriated from Malta in 2021

 - Local - Jan 11 SHARE ON:
Record number of irregular migrants repatriated from Malta in 2021

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said that a record number of irregular migrants living in Malta were repatriated in 2021. 

Responding to a parliamentary question tabled by MP Beppe Fenech Adami, the Minister revealed that a total of 448 irregular migrants were repatriated, 40 of whom did so voluntarily. 

That means that over 400 people were forcibly returned to their home country. Camilleri praised the work being done by the Police and the Returns Unit to repatriate people to their home countries. No details were however given on which countries the people were repatriated to. 

Roughly 90% of all repatriations were male. The Minister also gave some insight into the costs behind repatriation. 

He revealed that for the first nine months of the year, the government spent €554,800.80 to help return people to their home country. Around €393,477.22 came from EU funds, whereas €161,323.58 came from public coiffeurs. 

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