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MALTATODY 20 March 2022

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NEWS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 20 MARCH 2022 5 7952 2687 michael.falzon Kandidat Laburista fuq id-9 u l-10 Distrett public places. Masks are now only mandatory indoors and during mass events. Despite the public health restrictions, political events and rallies by the major po- litical parties are attracting large groups of people, who flout rules for the wearing of masks and on seating alloca- tion irrespectively of repeat- ed warnings. Health Minister Chris Fearne earlier this week at- tributed the increase in cases to a new, slightly more con- tagious strain of the Omi- cron variant, coinciding with a wave of cold weather and relaxation of measures. He said cases should stabilise in the coming weeks. Public health authorities have called for "gatherings" to be avoided "wherever pos- sible" during the electoral campaign. And despite such warnings, political parties themselves continue to organise mass events on an almost dai- ly basis, sometimes rallying hundreds of supporters in enclosed areas such as the Kordin Pavilion. But Malta is not the on- ly country to record a surge in cases, with an increasing number being attributed to the prevalence of a "stealth" sub-variant of the omicron strain. COVID cases have in- creased dramatically in the U.K. in recent weeks, while Germany continues to mark record high daily infections with more than 250,000 new cases a day. Elsewhere, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands are al- so seeing COVID infections start to rise again, aided and abetted by the relaxation of coronavirus measures and the spread of a new sub-var- iant of omicron, known as BA.2. Danish scientists believe that the BA.2 sub-variant is 1½ times more transmissible than the original omicron strain, and is already over- taking it. The BA.2 variant is now responsible for over half of the new cases in Germany and makes up around 11% of cases in the U.S. 20-Feb RALLY - FOSOS RALLY - PN HQ 21-Feb Qormi rally Valletta Tinda 22-Feb Marsaskala St Julian's Tinda 23-Feb Mellieha speech Hamrun meet the candidates 24-Feb Birzebbuga AWLA Manifesto launch 25-Feb Isla/Haz-Zebbug Mellieha meet the candidates 26-Feb Rabat, Gozo interview Xaghra, Gozo Rally 27-Feb RALLY - Naxxar RALLY - Zurrieq 28-Feb Birkirkara interview Paola Tinda 01-Mar Mosta speech Zejtun meet the candidates 02-Mar Santa Lucija Q&A Msida interview 03-Mar Tigullio youth event Qormi meet the candidates 04-Mar San Gwann AWLA 05-Mar Sannat, Gozo speech 06-Mar RALLY - Kordin Padillion 07-Mar Marsaxlokk interview 08-Mar Zabbar speech 09-Mar Siggiewi interview 10-Mar Pembroke AWLA Mdina youth event 11-Mar MANIFESTO LAUNCH 12-Mar Qala, Gozo interview 13-Mar RALLY - Floriana RALLY - Kordin Padillion 14-Mar Kirkop interview Siggiewi 15-Mar Hamrun speech Balzan meet the candidates 16-Mar Zejtun rally/Msida Rabat interview 17-Mar St Paul's Bay AWLA Mqabba meet the candidates Bormla youth event ELECTION EVENTS Public health authorities have called for "gatherings" to be avoided "wherever possible" during the electoral campaign

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