MaltaToday previous editions

MaltaToday 2 February 2022 MIDWEEK

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 1 of 15

2 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 2 FEBRUARY 2022 2 NEWS 249 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Tuesday, figures published by the Health Min- istry show. A 57-year-old woman passed away while COVID-19 positive, bringing the total number of deaths to 551. Active cases stand at 2,954 after 266 recoveries were reg- istered. There are currently 102 coronavirus patients being cared for at Mater Dei Hos- pital, of which five are in the ITU. Until yesterday, 1,213,371 vaccine doses were adminis- tered, of which 331,055 were booster doses. COVID-19 57-year-old woman dies, 249 new cases registered 5,069 children aged five to 11 have received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to figures tabled in parlia- ment. Health Minister Chris Fearne said that as of 26 January, 17,953 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been adminis- tered to children aged between five and 11. The European Medicines Agency authorised the use of Pfizer-BoNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children back in November. The rollout to this cohort began in Malta on 14 December. Fearne was replying to a parliamentary question by Nation- alist MP Ivan Bartolo. Vaccination rate for 16 to 29-year-olds The health minister also said that as of 26 January, 164,548 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to those aged between 16 and 29, of which 81,029 were second doses. Moreover, 46,082 persons in this cohort had received the COVID-19 booster dose. The booster dose is currently only available for those over 18. As of yesterday, 1,210,946 doses of the COVID-19 were ad- ministered, of which 329,806 are booster doses. Almost 18,000 COVID vaccine doses administered to children aged 5 to 11 MATTHEW VELLA STEWARD Health Care Interna- tional (SHCI) has claimed a Mal- taToday report on a 2019 mem- orandum of understanding with the Maltese government, 'misrep- resents' an intended plan transfer the Barts Medical School into a separate property vehicle. MaltaToday reported that a 2019 memorandum of under- standing would have allowed SH- CI to "transfer into a separate and distinct contract with a suitable vehicle" the Barts Medical School and a nursing school, without any changes to the government's own- ership rights in the hospitals con- cession. SHCI said it "forcefully disputes" the article, saying the MOU was neither signed, nor executed – a fact that MaltaToday referred to in previous reports on the mem- orandum negotiated with the Muscat administration in 2019. Key ministers like former minister Konrad Mizzi insist the memo- randum was approved by the Cab- inet at the time. "The draft MOU represented an attempt by SHCI to assist with the complete renegotiation and pro- fessionalisation of the terms of the hospital concession." Steward said in an official state- ment that the original terms of the concession to its predecessors Vitals Global Healthcare were described by the Maltese govern- ment itself, the EU and the Nation- al Audit Office as "'unbankable', not based on correct information, and not fit for purpose." The ref- erence to "unbankable" was first published in a Times report citing sources involved in government negotiations with Steward. "Had the MOU been agreed to by the previous government, there would be a bankable concession in place that does not violate EU requirements for public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the fa- cilities would be nearing comple- tion," Steward said. The hospitals concessionaire insists the MOU had "clear ben- efits to the Maltese people", by suggesting a potential deal "to sell portions of the leasehold of the London-based Barts Medical School, to a leading US real es- tate company, Medical Properties Trust (MPT) – with the govern- ment, importantly, maintaining ownership and oversight of the medical school." Steward said this was one option raised but never pursued. "This opportunity, which was heavily supported by the govern- ment, Malta Enterprise, and Bank of Valletta at the time, would have brought foreign direct investment to Malta, improved the standing of the financial institutions involved and boosted the local economy," Steward said. Steward said this would not have forfeited the Maltese govern- ment's ownership of any aspect of the concession, including the Barts Medical School. "On the contrary, the overriding purpose of the draft MOU was to ensure the ongoing scrutiny and retention of oversight by the gov- ernment over the activities at the Barts Medical School, while free- ing up working capital to invest in the operations of the concession and deliver for patients. The way the article was written, leaves the reader with a false impression of the realities of the opportunity and the intentions of SHCI." Steward Healthcare Internation- al also denied any current com- mercial connection to American hospitals landlord Medical Prop- erties Trust, or any legal connec- tion to Steward operations in the US. "As such the link to MPT as depicted in the article is complete- ly false." "The fact that the concession was considered 'unbankable', re- quiring capital infusions, and not fit for purpose by international institutions, rendered the Maltese concession of no financial value. Hence, the $200 million sale the article refers to was in no way for the Malta concession, which was carved out as a loss-leading oper- ation requiring further capital in- fusions. MaltaToday's conflation of the two is intended to mislead," SCHI said. According to MPT's filings with the United States financial reg- ulator, Medical Properties Trust formed a new joint venture with De la Torre and other executives on Steward Healthcare Interna- tional, which runs the hospitals in Malta. Steward in America received $200 million in cash for the sale of Steward International, while the Malta assets were valued at $27 million. Steward: 2019 unsigned memorandum included plan to sell Barts leasehold Steward Healthcare International reacts to MaltaToday story: sale of Gozo medical school leasehold 'would have brought foreign direct investment to Malta' The Barts Medical Campus in Gozo

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MaltaToday 2 February 2022 MIDWEEK