Policy responses for Malta - HSRM


Policy responses for Malta

1.4 Monitoring and surveillance

Update 31st March 2021

Malta has increased capacity for the genetic sequencing for variants of concern in line with ECDC recommendations. 52 cases of UK variant and 1 case of South African variant were initially reported up to 19th February 2021. B1.1.7 variant is currently the most prevalent strain in Malta, with some 75.7% of samples identified as SARS-CoV-2 positive on the 13th March 2021 by Mater Dei Hospital Laboratory were due to B.1.1.7 ( UK) variant.



Update 16th September 2020

As of 16th September 2020, there were a total of 2560 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Malta, with 1953 recovered cases, 16 deaths and 591 active cases remaining.

Following the reversal of almost all measures and legal instruments through which community wide social distancing measures, the travel ban and closure of most retail outlets and other services in early to mid-July were implemented, a sudden increase in the number of cases was registered relating to clusters at a hotel pool party.  This was followed by further cases forming part of clusters in village festas, language schools, summer school, and a confirmation party, resulting in a number of new restrictions being implemented (see section 1.2: physical distancing).  In the past week there have also been outbreaks in 4 homes for the elderly. The number of cases and deaths in the elderly population have continued to increase with a record number of cases being reported on 16th September 2020.

Update 02 July 2020

Current Status of COVID-19 pandemic in Malta

As of 1st July 2020, there have been a total of 671 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Malta, with 647 recovered cases, 9 fatalities and 15 active cases remaining (see data dashboard in key links). Over the last week there have been several days where 0 cases were reported (https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/no-new-covid-19-cases-for-fifth-day-this-week.801507). A total of 96,266 nasal RT-PCR tests have been performed, although the number of daily tests has somewhat declined over the transition period.

Update 31 May 2020

Malta’s Transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic is being done in a number of phases, in line with lowering of the Reproduction Factor (Rt) among other surveillance measures. Malta is following WHO and ECDC guidance in this regard; the exit strategies of other countries are also being closely monitored and the resultant impact on their COVID-19 epidemiology, particularly consulting guidelines on mitigation factors included for various social and economic activities. See Section 1.2: Transition measures: Physical distancing, for further details on relaxation of lockdown measures.

Gradual relaxation of public health measures in phases starting with ‘lower risk’  activities is dependent on the stability of these epidemiological surveillance measures and reliant on the discipline of the public by adopting COVID mitigating measures (such as wearing face masks) when in retail establishments or engaged in other services which have resumed activity in the transition phase. Adequate health capacity for potential increased transmission and the effects on hospital admissions and mortality are also being considered. A suitable time period between the relaxation of measures and observation of the full effect on the relaxation of these measures in terms of stability of the epidemiological indicators was strongly recommended. 

The case definition for confirmed cases and probable cases of COVID-19 used in Malta are based upon the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) definition. In accordance with this guidance, once local transmission was established in Malta, this was widened to include any person presenting with symptoms irrespective of travel or contact with probable case of COVID-19. Monitoring and surveillance is nationwide, regardless of place of residence. When new cases are announced, this includes the fact whether these are cases in the community, in a healthcare institution or in a long-term care residence. This includes staff and residents.

Active case finding and thorough contact tracing is the corner stone of the aggressive containment strategy of the Maltese public health authorities. People are encouraged to contact the authorities if they develop symptoms for early diagnoses which would allow early medical intervention in case complications develop that require medical assistance.

All persons complaining of one or more of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, tiredness, runny nose, headache, muscle pain, loss of smell, loss of taste, diarrhoea or vomiting can call the public health helpline and a specific form will be completed. These forms are vetted by a public health consultant to ensure they fit within the criteria stipulated, after which the individual would be called for a swab test. Referrals can also be sent in by primary care physicians. There is a separate fast-track for testing health care professionals within the grounds of the main acute hospital.

As of 2nd May 2020, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Malta amounts to a total of 468 cases of these 379 are considered as recovered cases and 85 active cases. There have been 4 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic locally.

The daily count of newly diagnosed persons has decreased substantially with less than 10 reported cases daily since 22nd April. There was a day were no new cases were reported at al (https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/watch-health-minister-to-address-press-conference.788150).

More information can be obtained from the dashboard which is updated daily https://infogram.com/1p1xpwwgj1w3v2imxjzwjvv152b63z02dvv?live.