Last Updated on Thursday, 11 March, 2021 at 9:17 am by Andre Camilleri
510 new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Wednesday. This is yet another stark record for the islands, with many entities calling for further measures.
On Tuesday, Malta registered 248 new cases, along with one death. Malta’s seven-day moving average as of 9 March is 265 cases per day, according to ourworldindata.org, data compiled by Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford.
The previous record stands at 362 on 4 March. Recently, the government introduced several new restrictions following a surge in cases, including restaurants and cafes’ closure. The UK variant, which is highly contagious, is currently also present in Malta.
The health authorities are currently administering the vaccine to specific sections of society. The new measures were introduced to try and control the situation as more people receive the vaccine. According to data compiled by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the island maintains the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate compared to other EU countries, with 13.5% of the population having received the first dose, within the European Union, according to data compiled by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. With 5.9% of the Maltese population having received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, Malta is ahead of Poland with 4.6% and Iceland with 4.5%. The data covers EU countries and the European Economic Area. Malta also has the highest first dose rate, with 13.5% of the population having received the first dose, followed by Denmark with 10.6% and Cyprus with 9.7%.
The Malta Business Weekly spoke to local business owners Jacob’s Brew café owner, Sarah Cachia, for her reaction and Philip Spiteri, owner of Ta’ Philip restaurant in Gozo.
Sarah explained “As many know our coffee shop, Jacob’s Brew isn’t just a business. It’s a community Cafe’ that feeds funds into our registered charity Survivors Malta so that we may initiate projects to help better the lives of families facing trauma. So, shutting the shop hit us hard, not just from a financial aspect, but also stifling our ability to do good.
Although I fully understand the new measures’ reasoning, I must admit I cried when we closed as we have worked so hard since last June to get back on our feet again. Not easy when you are a small family business with rent and bills still to pay even though the business is closed. But we survived the first closing, and we will get through this too. I am using my free time to do the groundwork on our upcoming project, our Jacob’s Coffee Run Van, which will be launched in better days to come.
The question is not if we will reopen, but when. Yesterday’s numbers show we are far from the end of this Pandemic. In reality, the virus will not go away. What we need to do is get it under control. This can only be done with co-operation from everyone. The business people, the public and the authorities. There is no point in introducing new measures and regulations if they are not enforced and fines issued. That’s the only way that we have any chance of getting some kind of normality, whatever that may be”
Philip added his point of view, “Philip added his point of view, “Business wise, it would have made no difference if we had closed now or a month ago, since we are not seeing our usual number of foreign tourists in Gozo. We were relying on local tourism. That said, we urgently need to get the situation under control to see any chance of light at the end of the tunnel in terms of a summer season. The numbers are very worrying. If we had locked down earlier, we might have been in a position to emerge sooner. That’s why I believe actioning further measures must happen immediately, so we can all get out of this quicker. Nobody wants to lose business, but we must all make some sacrifices and pull together, so we can fight it as one.”