New COVID-19 cases in Malta hit another high in two days

New COVID-19 cases in Malta keep climbing, with the island state on Sunday registering another record of 263 new cases, compared with the previous high of 258 posted on Friday.

To date, the country has reported a total of 22,482 COVID-19 cases. Of them, 19,447 have recovered and 315 died. Between Saturday and Sunday, 3,047 swab tests were taken.

Currently, Malta has 2,720 active cases, nearly 1,600 of which were registered since the beginning of the week. The doctors’ union has expressed its concern that Malta’s only state hospital Mater Dei risks becoming overwhelmed.

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci told media on Friday that the surge in infections was attributable to the coronavirus variant first identified in the UK, which accounts for around eight percent of the new daily cases.

She said the country currently has a total of 61 confirmed cases of the variant found in the UK, and one case of the equally transmissible variant first discovered in South Africa.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines. A total of 73,644 people have so far been inoculated in Malta, according to Gauci.

Meanwhile, 255 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide — 73 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to the latest information released by the World Health Organization.