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Statement from the Deputy Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ivan Muscat

07 January 2021

​We are in a better place now than we were in mid-December with about 25 new cases per day instead of the 78 or so new cases per day we saw before Christmas. 

Testing rates are ramping up but with a current positivity rate of about 1.6%. 
There were some 90 hospital COVID patients in the second wave but currently there are significantly less than 5 COVID admissions in hospital with none in ITU.

However, we absolutely must not believe we are in a good place. Our case rate is 301/14days/100,000. And sadly we have had some 21 deaths associated with COVID in this wave. 

We have yet to see the effects of Christmas and New Year. Which hopefully will not be detrimental. 

The rates in surrounding countries are very high indeed with a new variant in the UK and other countries with an 70% increased transmissibility although without increased virulence and still covered by the current vaccine. The South African variant is similar but may possibly better evade the vaccine – this remains to be confirmed.

On the other hand, we are now vaccinating our population at pace.  And we are doing so in such a way as to protect as many at risk people as soon as possible.

Given the delivery schedule of the vaccine this means giving the first dose to all those over 50 and those with underlying conditions to achieve a high initial protection rate and then giving the second dose in about 10 to 12 weeks to increase the durability of this protection. In keeping of course with the advice of the UK regulatory bodies.

So how do we put all this together?

It still means that we must be very careful moving forward to keep our numbers down through adherence to PH guidelines, through using our test and track system to capacity and to be extremely careful at our borders. This will allow our vaccination programme to progress and our schools to open successfully. As well as allowing greater but cautious freedoms and therefore better physical and mental health.

Thank you, I’ll now pass back to the Chief Minister.

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