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Fate of Air Malta to be revealed in next few days; Minister to meet unions amid financial concerns

Fate of Air Malta to be revealed in next few days; Minister to meet unions amid financial concerns
Jan 12 2022 Share

Sources have revealed that within the next few days, a number of important developments will be made with regards to Malta’s national airline Air Malta. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana is expected to meet with various union representatives over the next few days.

As of yet, it unknown whether or not the European Union has given permission to the Maltese Government to give subsidies to Air Malta. Further details are expected to be given during the upcoming meeting. Minister Caruana had revealed that Air Malta was losing €170,000 each single day and State Aid was necessary to keep up its operations.

Caruana had stated that Air Malta was expected to lose €30 million in 2022 and if the European Commission does not grant permission for State Aid, Air Malta could not go on. The future of the national airline will be determined in the next few days.

#MaltaDaily

More than 67% of over-18s received their booster shot says Chris Fearne

More than 67% of over-18s received their booster shot says Chris Fearne
Jan 12 2022 Share

More than two-thirds of the adult population in Malta have received their COVID booster shot, Health Minister Chris Fearne revealed. 

This translates to around 67% of those aged over 18, with the health minister appealing to the rest of the population who is eligible to register for the vaccine. 

Following the Omicron variant’s emergence leading to a spike in cases, Malta’s health authorities are trying to vaccinate as much of the population as possible. Children aged between 5 and 11 are also now eligible to receive their COVID shots, joining the rollout. 

Till yesterday, 1,146,466 doses of the vaccine were administered, of which 288,561 were booster shots. This comes as Malta registers 13,104 active cases and 496 total deaths since the pandemic started. 

However, hospitalisations remain remarkably low at 116, with just 9 people in ITU. Fearne also announced on Monday that Malta had the fourth-highest booster rate among EU members. 

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Companies are cutting operations due to COVID absents warn employers

Companies are cutting operations due to COVID absents warn employers
Jan 12 2022 Share

The Malta Employer’s Association said on Wednesday that companies are finding it difficult to cope with a surge in worker absenteeism caused by COVID related issues. 

A survey conducted among MEA members showed that 32% of 325 respondents reported an absence rate higher than 15%. 58% of respondents said they are coping with absenteeism through teleworking where possible, whereas 51% said they had to reduce operations. 

With the survey covering companies operating in all sectors of the company, this comes as vids cases experienced a massive spike in the past weeks. This forced many workers into quarantine or self-isolation after they were either infected or in close-contact with positive cases. Estimates show that tens of thousands of people have been forced to quarantine. 

With quarantine rules modified to allow people who received the booster to return to normal life after 10 days instead of 14, lobbyists and unions are still pushing for rules to be relaxed even more. They cite overseas examples and warned that the new rules will spark more confusion.

MEA said that disrupting business’ activity would lead to a negative impact on GDP growth and government finances given the wage supplement being extended to at least the first quarter of 2022. The association also urged authorities to constantly re-examine the measures to ensure that they are commensurate with the risk level of the pandemic. 

#MaltaDaily

Italian nurse caught emptying COVID vaccines in garbage and faking shots

Italian nurse caught emptying COVID vaccines in garbage and faking shots
Jan 12 2022 Share

Police in Italy have arrested a nurse on charges that he was faking giving COVID-19 vaccinations to around 45 people in order for them to get a health pass. The actual vaccines were allegedly being ditched in a bin, with patients walking away from the centre with bandages on their arm so as not to suspect the scam. 

Police in Ancona on Italy’s eastern coast also placed four alleged accomplices under house arrest after they were accused of finding customers who did not want to get vaccinated but were willing to pay for a health pass. 45 people who allegedly received the passes as part of the nurse’s scam are currently under investigation. They are required to check in daily with police and are prevented from leaving their cities, a police statement revealed. 

Police filmed the nurse at work in a huge vaccine hub, where he apparently squirted the needle’s contents into the medical waste bin before pretending to inject the patient’s arm and then putting on the band-aid. The suspects are accused of corruption, falsifying information and embezzlement. Police however added that the fake vaccination scheme also wasted a fundamental public resource. 

With Italy cracking down hard on the unvaccinated, the country requires proof of vaccination or a recent recovery from COVID to access several activities, public transport and other establishments. The country has inoculated 86% of its over-12 population, with 60% of those eligible receiving their booster. 

#MaltaDaily