VALLETTA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Malta has identified another four cases of the coronavirus variant first found in South Africa. All cases were isolated and are in quarantine, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said on Friday.
The news came just two days after the country's health minister, Chris Fearne, announced the identification of the coronavirus variant first found in Brazil.
Addressing her weekly media update on the pandemic situation, Gauci did not provide details of the cases, but simply said that the infected persons and all those who might have been in touch with them were placed in isolation. The first case of this variant had been identified on Feb. 16.
Gauci said that more than two-thirds of the new cases identified in Malta were linked to the variant first found in the United Kingdom. On Friday, health authorities said they had found 33 new cases, bringing the country's total number of active cases up to 513.
The new cases had dropped by 24 percent since last week's update and by 30 percent when compared to the previous week. "The infection curve has now hit a plateau," she said while urging people to continue taking precautions and following restrictions currently in place.
Households and workplace infections continue to be the most common place for the spread followed by social gatherings and schools, where 28 cases have been reported since they opened on April 12.
The island has so far reported 30,129 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic. One more patient died overnight, bringing the total death toll to 412.
The authorities said that until Thursday, 301,594 doses of the vaccine had been administered, of which 96,631 were second doses.
The government earlier this week announced that it would soon announce further relaxation of restrictive measures. On April 26, non-essential business and service providers will be reopening their doors after having been forced to shut at the beginning of March. Restaurants and bars continue to remain shut until more restrictions are lifted. The island plans to open to tourism on June 1. Enditem