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08 Apr 2020 | 11:08 PM UTC

Malta: Authorities confirm first COVID-19 related death April 8 /update 5

Maltese government confirms first COVID-19-related death April 8; further international spread of COVID-19 to be expected over the near term

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MLT

Event

On Wednesday, April 8, the Maltese government announced the country's first fatality linked to coronavirus (COVID-19). The patient was a 92-year-old woman who had underlying health issues.

All incoming flights remain indefinitely suspended to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The ban will not apply to cargo, humanitarian, and repatriation flights. Passenger ferries are also suspended and cruise ships are not allowed to dock at Valletta. Other containment measures also remain in effect, including a ban on outdoor events of more than 2000 people and indoor events of more than 750 people. Police will carry out spot checks to guarantee that quarantine measures are being observed, with a fine of EUR 1000 for offenders.

As of April 8, there are 293 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.