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Malta spends over 1.6 billion euros on COVID-19 measures

People queue outside tents set up for either COVID-19 positive or in quarantine voters to cast their vote in Zejtun on March 26, 2022 during Malta's general election. (PHOTO / AFP)

VALLETTA / MOSCOW – Malta has spent more than 1.6 billion euros (US$1.58 billion) on support measures since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, the country's Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said on Wednesday.

Of the 1.66 billion euros spent on tackling coronavirus, 1.5 billion euros came from the national treasury. Some 150 million euros was provided through the European Social Fund and the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU).

Just over 662 million euros were spent on measures in 2020, the Finance Minister explained. This increased to just over 706 million euros in 2021, but support dropped to just under 300 million in 2022.

Most of the funds were spent on supplementing wages, with workers being offered around 800 euros a month to help employers sustain their jobs. This measure alone cost around 842 million euros.

Several sectors also received direct support,  such as the agriculture and fisheries sectors, and the voucher scheme which helped retail outlets.

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People wait to undergo a free rapid antigen test for the coronavirus disease at a testing center in the GUM, State Department store in Moscow on Jan 31, 2022. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)

Russia

Russia recorded 23,757 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 21,118,629, the official monitoring and response center said Wednesday.

The nationwide death toll increased by 113 to 387,779.

Meanwhile, Moscow reported 2,512 new cases, taking its total to 3,205,456.

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