Malta’s total of coronavirus cases has risen to 241 after 14 more people tested positive for COVID-19 overnight.

Superintendent of public health Charmaine Gauci delivered the daily update on the spread of coronavirus in Malta. 

One of the cases includes a man who escaped when he was being brought for treatment to Sir Paul Boffa hospital. Police are searching for him. 

The new positive cases came from 555 tests. Of the 241 people with coronavirus in Malta and Gozo, five have since recovered. 

Gauci said most of the remaining cases are in “good condition” and recovering at home. Those being treated in hospitals are in a range of facilities across the islands. 

  • Three people are in the Intensive Treatment Unit at Mater Dei;
  • Two are in Mount Carmel hospital;
  • Eight are at Mater Dei;
  • 16 are at Sir Paul Boffa;
  • 20 are in St Thomas;
  • One is in Gozo hospital.

The new cases range in age from 32 to 76. 

Case one is a 67-year-old woman from Gozo, who experienced a cough and shortness of breath and is being kept in isolation in hospital.

Case two is also from Gozo – a 38-year-old man, who is being treated at home. Contact tracing is being carried out on his colleagues and family.

Case three, four and five were all patients at Mount Carmel psychiatric hospital. They are a 55-year-old Maltese woman, a 34-year-old Libyan man and a 32-year-old Egyptian man who lives in Hal Far open centre. 

Case six is a 73 year old Maltese man, who was admitted to hospital for something unrelated to coronavirus. 

Case seven is a 55-year-old Maltese man, who was also admitted for another condition. 

Case eight is 60-year-old man.

Case nine is a 76-year-old man who lives on his own. 

Case 10 is a 61-year-old, who had a chronic cough, which worsened. His colleagues are being contacted. 

Case 11 is a 57-year-old woman, who had a sore throat and running nose on April 3. 

Case 12 is a 54-year-old male health care worker who works at Mater Dei and Mount Carmel; case 13 is a32-year-old woman and case 14 is a 44-year-old Bulgarian woman who lives in Malta. Her colleagues are being traced.

In the question and answer session of the news briefing, Gauci was asked what her risk assessment was on Spring hunting, which has been allowed to go ahead despite stretched police resources.

She said it was not up to health authorities to decide on spring hunting, but the health recommendations for others are also applicable to hunters.

On news that tigers had been diagnosed with the virus in other countries, she said there were ongoing studies on whether an animal can pass the virus to humans.

She advised: “Don’t abandon animals but if you touch any animal wash your hands and if they’re ill, take them to the vet.”

Gauci was speaking as residents of Hal Far open centre began their first day in mandatory quarantine, after eight cases were confirmed there. She said that health authorities are doing everything possible to contain the contagion and were testing anyone with early symptoms. 

She said authorities would keep up their campaign of information at other centres, to pass on the message of hygiene and distancing measures. 

Regarding the three patients at Mount Carmel with the virus, she said they were not all in the same ward but that they had been in the community, so authorites were carrying out contact tracing. 

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