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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had a global impact. The study explores the various COVID-19 experiences in Malta over the past year and provides a snapshot of acute and post-acute COVID-19 symptoms, as well as national vaccination roll-out and hesitancy.
Data on medical access, lifestyle habits, acute and post-acute COVID-19 symptoms, and vaccination hesitancy was gathered through a social media survey targeting adults of Malta. COVID-19 data were gathered from the Malta Ministry of Health COVID-19 dashboard.
Malta controlled COVID-19 spread exceptionally well initially. Since August 2020, the positivity rate, mortality, and hospital admission rates saw a fluctuating incline. From COVID-19 onset, a decrease in physical activity and an increase in body weight was reported. Most participants acquiring COVID-19 were asymptomatic but nontrivial proportion experienced post-acute symptoms. The majority opted to take the COVID-19 vaccine with only a minority expressing safety concerns.
Malta has experienced roller coaster events over a year. The population faced elevated levels of morbidity, mortality, and economic hardship along with negative and positive risk-associated behaviors. Vaccination in combination with population adherence to social distancing, mask wearing, and personal hygiene are expected to be the beacons of hope in the coming months.
For nearly 300 years, the Knights of St John forced a range of captives to labour on their galleys, with slave, convict and debtor oarsmen propelling the Knights’ navy in their crusade against Islam. This article considers how we can investigate these captives and the consequences of their presence in Malta by reconfiguring captivity as a process that extended into wider society. By seeking material traces of captivity at sea on board galleys and on land, the article opens new investigative avenues into early modern captivity in the Mediterranean. In addition, it brings to current debates a rare archaeological example of modern slavery within a European context.
The TPNW was welcomed at the UN General Assembly, under the participation of a wide range of humanitarian groups and civil society organizations, supported by a groundswell of nations around the world. The Treaty firmly implants new law into the international legal landscape for states who wish to ratify it, sowing the seeds of potentially new normative behavior within the global community more generally. Indeed, the TPNW purports to strive for universality, raising significant questions regarding its ambitions in achieving legal unity within the wider international legal order. The dedication to the spirit of the Treaty cannot be ignored, nor can the optimism to ban nuclear weapons.
This is the first study of Renaissance architecture as an immersive, multisensory experience that combines historical analysis with the evidence of first-hand accounts. Questioning the universalizing claims of contemporary architectural phenomenologists, David Karmon emphasizes the infinite variety of meanings produced through human interactions with the built environment. His book draws upon the close study of literary and visual sources to prove that early modern audiences paid sustained attention to the multisensory experience of the buildings and cities in which they lived. Through reconstructing the Renaissance understanding of the senses, we can better gauge how constant interaction with the built environment shaped daily practices and contributed to new forms of understanding. Architecture and the Senses in the Italian Renaissance offers a stimulating new approach to the study of Renaissance architecture and urbanism as a kind of 'experiential trigger' that shaped ways of both thinking and being in the world.
Despite the qualified successes of Operation ‘Crusader’, Britain was faced with a disastrous turn of events in early 1942. The entry of Japan to the war had compelled a redistribution of force to the Far East, while some key British losses and new in-theatre German commitments had further redefined the Mediterranean balance of power. Chapter 5 outlines how the British were forced to adopt a defensive posture throughout the theatre, as their gains from ‘Crusader’ were rapidly reversed. As the Axis then advanced into Egypt, Malta was subjected to an intense aerial siege and came perilously close to being starved into submission. The difficulties in conducting anti-shipping operations during this period were numerous. Yet in a reversal of the thesis advanced by historians such as van Creveld and Gladman, the chapter demonstrates that significant sinkings (of over 300,000 tons) were achieved during this period. The continued attrition was greatly troubling for the Axis, contributing to a shipping shortage that was to reach crisis point later in the year.
Chapter 6 begins by illustrating the respective positions of each side by September 1942. It shows that while the Axis position can in retrospect be viewed as highly precarious, the British evinced real concern about a complete collapse in Egypt. It highlights the resurgent emphasis that was placed on the Mediterranean from Whitehall, and on anti-shipping operations by the theatre commanders. These attacks were pursued with a ruthless prioritisation; even after clear evidence that some Axis vessels were carrying British prisoners of war. This allowed anti-shipping operations to thrive, aided by the effective use of intelligence to target the most critical cargoes of fuel and ammunition. As a result, over the three-month period, ninety-five vessels of nearly 200,000 tons were sunk, with grave effects on the Axis. These sinkings helped curtail the final Axis offensive in Egypt and contributed to the vital British victory at El Alamein by depriving the Axis of essential fuel and ammunition. In contrast to arguments put forward by scholars such as van Creveld, Barnett and Gladman, the book uses a mix of Italian, German and British material to conclusively show that the supply shortages suffered by the Axis were primarily the result of seaborne sinkings.
While El Alamein represented an important defensive victory at the eastern fringe of the Mediterranean, joint Anglo-American landings in north-west Africa caused a transformation of the theatre. This shift to a truly Allied venture, where the war in North Africa was fought on two fronts, had consequent effects on Axis supply requirements. Anti-shipping operations continued to receive high priority throughout this period, resulting in a devastating 477 vessels of over 700,000 tons being sunk in five months. This ensured that the minimum level of supplies required by the Axis forces were not received. In fact, the losses were so devastating that the Axis came to lack the necessary shipping to even attempt shipping the required amounts in the first place. The chapter then offers a revolutionary new argument: that the period around October 1942 represented a tipping point towards collapse for the Axis position in the wider Mediterranean. The consistently high rates of sinkings had greatly eroded the base of available tonnage, and efforts to improve construction had failed. The attempts to fill the void with seized French tonnage were inadequate, and by early summer 1943 the Axis were acknowledging that maintaining positions such as Sardinia and Corsica was no longer possible, while retaining the Aegean islands and even Sicily were tenuous aims.
Chapter 4 starts with the Mediterranean receiving a new level of recognition in British strategic priority during the August–December 1941 period, becoming the primary effort. Moreover, the anti-shipping campaign was promoted to a prime position in operational priority for the Navy and Air Force, with a corresponding dedication of forces to the task. Coupled with this was an increase in the pace of learning and the refinement of tactical procedures. This led to greatly increased levels of sinkings over August–December, which coincided with a new major British offensive in North Africa: Operation ‘Crusader’. These sinkings successfully denied Axis forces in Cyrenaica the necessary fuel and ammunition to either launch their own planned offensive or to resist the British advance, including the loss of 92 per cent of the fuel shipped in November. Furthermore, the increased levels of attrition meant that sinkings were now greatly outstripping the Axis replenishment capability through new construction or other means. This was the first clear example of the dual effect of the anti-shipping campaign: one operational affecting the war on land in North Africa, and one attritional, undermining the Axis ability to conduct any form of warfare in the Mediterranean. It caused serious concern among the Axis commands, leading to the adoption of new countermeasures, which were to have a major impact in the following year.
This chapter makes a case for the existence of a cohesive “British Mediterranean world” that encompassed not only Britain’s Mediterranean colonies (in this period, Malta, Gibraltar, and the Ionian Islands) but also the intrigue and influence the Mediterranean exerted in Britain itself. We consider the diverse ensemble of British personnel driven to the Middle Sea by the obligations of military service, by the needs of diplomacy, or by personal inclination. The chapter demonstrates that it was primarily attention to and interest in Mediterranean dynamics that shaped the course of Britain’s attitude toward quarantine. Finally, in considering the “Doctor’s Mediterranean,” it concludes with a study of the ways in which medical expertise developed in the Mediterranean region impinged in an outsized manner on British debates of the validity of quarantine.
This chapter takes a transnational approach to the study of the administration of quarantine, considering the how boards of health had to operate along local, national, and international registers. Through a social and institutional study of quarantine administration, it becomes clear how boards in different countries negotiated problems in symmetry. The chapter explores the administrative logic underlying disinfection practices and the daily scope of board of health activities. Lazarettos comprised a rigid hierarchy of employees, from the “Captain/Prior” in charge of the building through doctors to the “guardians” who attended each traveling party and who cycled in and out of quarantine themselves. At the top of the hierarchy, boards of health wielded immense power as they acted as local administrators with an international remit. I investigate how the lazaretto could simultaneously serve as an economic engine for cities such as Marseille, a civic institution, and a space that fell within the interstices of administration, whose jurisdictional status remained murky.
This chapter reveals circuits of exchange among boards of health and European consuls serving in the Middle East that fashioned a European biopolity centered upon quarantine practice. It argues that, contrary to scholarship that has depicted quarantine prior to the 1850s as an improvised and irregular precursor to a late-century regime of international health, reciprocal correspondence among boards of health fostered a system that was durable and adaptable. The centerpiece of the chapter focuses on the events surrounding the passage of the 1825 Quarantine Act in Britain, in which an attempt to liberalize quarantine regulations led to a Continent-wide quarantine against British shipping. The spectacle only concluded when the Privy Council backed down. Rather than demonstrating British ambivalence, however, the reaction of the government in London shows how seriously politicians and advocates regarded membership in what one MP called the “family compact” of quarantine.
Provides an overview of the ways in which music was used in medical settings during the war. It will outline how the British Red Cross, which was tasked by the War Office to coordinate the organisation and supply of British hospitals, ensured that provision was made for live and recorded music in the majority of their facilities. This chapter will also consider how the medical profession came to recognise that music was an aid to servicemen’s recovery and convalescence. The experiences of civilian entertainers in military medical settings will also be examined.
Bandmann’s engagement with the many localities on his circuit required a degree of political activity at a level which is termed here micropolitical. This term refers to personal connections and networks and how they function in a political context. For Bandmann, who attempted to build or manage theatres on his circuit, this meant forging political and business partnerships that demonstrate a much deeper engagement with locality than is normal for itinerant theatre. The micropolitics of locality are discussed in relation to the most important cities on his circuit, which were mostly entrepôts, port cities designed to facilitate colonial trade. The chapter provides detailed discussion of Bandmann’s activities in Malta, Cairo, Bombay, Calcutta, Shanghai, Hong Kong and the Dutch East Indies, as well as in connection with the Victoria Theatre in Singapore and Parsi theatre.
Political corruption in the land sector is pervasive, but difficult to document and effectively prosecute. This article provides new evidence on political land corruption in Malta, the European Union’s smallest member state and one of the world’s most densely populated countries. It shows how the country’s highly restrictive zoning laws, along with a de jure independent regulator, have created opportunities for extensive and endemic corruption in the granting of land development permits in zones that are outside development. It provides an example of governments creating institutions as rent-collection instruments – not to correct market failures, but to create opportunities for corruption. The unique underlying data set was collected through an automated web-scraping program as the regulator first turned down then ignored freedom of information requests for the data.
Macroalgal fouling communities are potentially useful as bioindicators in environmental monitoring as they are considered to be sensitive to changes in environmental conditions and the use of artificial substrata facilitates the implementation of standardized sampling strategies. The response of macroalgal fouling communities on buoys to changes in water quality was investigated with a view to the possible utilization of these assemblages in environmental monitoring programmes. Seven study sites were selected based on previously collected environmental data and Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was used to order sites according to beam attenuation coefficient (BAC) and concentration of dissolved nitrates and phosphates, relative to a minimally impacted reference site. At each site, all fouling macroalgae were collected from 10 buoys of standard shape and size, and were identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level. Species composition and species dominance were highly variable among impacted sites, indicating that qualitative aspects of community structure may not be useful as indicators of changes in water quality. However, higher levels of nutrient enrichment and turbidity were associated with lower macroalgal species richness, lower overall abundances, and decreased diversities, and therefore these quantitative aspects of community structure are potentially useful as indicators of environmental change. Intermediate levels of turbidity and nutrient enrichment were associated with lower evenness, but did not influence species richness, suggesting that macroalgal abundances respond to changes in environmental conditions before species replacement occurs.
The remarkable subterranean architecture of the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum on Malta has generated many claims about its dramatic acoustic effects, but previous studies have lacked rigour. A systematic, methodical approach has now been applied to measure the acoustic properties of the site, and to test earlier assertions. The results confirm some, but not all, prior observations, and demonstrate how a sound-based approach can contribute to an understanding of the archaeological context. It is argued that for the people who created the Hypogeum, the acoustics must have had particular significance and ritual power.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus constitutes a global epidemic and a major burden on health care systems across the world. Prevention of this disease is essential, and the development of effective prevention strategies requires validated information on the disease burden and the risk factors. Embarking on a nationally representative cross-sectional study is challenging and costly. Few countries undertake this process regularly, if at all.
This paper sets out the evidence-based protocol of a recent cross-sectional study that was conducted in Malta. Data collection took place from November 2014 to January 2016.
This study presents up-to-date national data on diabetes and its risk factors (such as obesity, smoking, physical activity and alcohol intake) that will soon be publicly available.
This protocol was compiled so that the study can be replicated in other countries. The protocol contains step-by-step descriptions of the study design, including details on the population sampling, the permissions required and the validated measurement tools used.
Of the three species of the genus Squalus that occur in the Mediterranean Sea, S. blainville and S. megalops are very difficult to distinguish. This study assesses the variability in morphological features that have been used to differentiate between these species. Squalus were collected from stations within the 25-nautical mile Fisheries Management Zone around the Maltese Islands; 349 specimens were dissected and categorized into male and female, mature and immature, and individuals were randomly selected from each category to make up a sample of 169 specimens. For each individual, total length and first dorsal fin parameters were measured, and morphology of denticles isolated from the laterodorsal area, of the upper and lower teeth and of the chondrocranium was analysed. The first dorsal spine was shorter that the fin base in 93% of the specimens, which is typical of S. megalops; this character was not related to either gender or maturity. Chondrocrania with one lateral process (typical of S. blainville) and two lateral processes (typical of S. megalops) were present. Teeth from the same individuals showed morphological features that overlap between S. blainville and S. megalops. Both unicuspid (typical of S. megalops) and tricuspid denticles (typical of S. blainville) were observed on the same individuals. Twelve specimens (six having one and six having two lateral chondrocranial processes) were analysed genetically by sequencing of the mtDNA marker Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit I (COI). All resulted to be S. blainville showing that intraspecific variability in supposedly diagnostic morphological features is large enough to render these unreliable to tell apart these two species, especially in the field.
Illegal hunting is a widespread problem in the Maltese Islands. As well as having a significant impact on the islands' breeding birds, the illegal hunting of migratory birds has a wider, international dimension. To investigate the international impact of illegal hunting in Malta we considered the entire ring recovery database of the Valletta Bird Ringing Scheme, from the 1920s to the present. All records of birds that were ringed overseas and shot by hunters in Malta were analysed, comprising a total of 435 records of 84 species from 36 countries. The majority of these ring recoveries (91.7%) were from species listed as protected and non-huntable throughout the European Union, with a significant proportion listed as European Species of Conservation Concern. Birds of prey were particularly represented in the database, 78.6% of which were ringed as nestlings or juveniles, highlighting the impact of illegal hunting on this group of species in particular. Species targeted illegally by Maltese hunters originate from countries throughout Europe and Africa, particularly Finland, Sweden, Tunisia, Italy and Germany. For rare species or those with small breeding populations in affected countries, illegal hunting could therefore have a significant impact on the long-term persistence of European populations. Poaching of species such as the pallid harrier Circus macrourus and saker falcon Falco cherrug could have a global impact on their populations.
The prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in Malta is among the highest in the world. Although increasingly recognised as a public health problem with substantial future economic implications for the national health and social care systems, understanding the context underlying the burden of obesity is necessary for the development of appropriate counter-strategies.
We conducted a contextual analysis to explore factors that may have potentially contributed to the establishment of an obesogenic environment in Malta. A search of the literature published between 1990 and 2013 was conducted in MEDLINE and EMBASE. Twenty-two full-text articles were retrieved. Additional publications were identified following recommendations by Maltese public health experts; a review of relevant websites; and thorough hand searching of back issues of the Malta Medical Journal since 1990.
Whole population, with a focus on children.
Results are organised and presented using the ANalysis Grid for Elements Linked to Obesity (ANGELO) framework. Physical, economic, policy and socio-cultural dimensions of the Maltese obesogenic environment are explored.
Malta’s obesity rates may be the result of an obesogenic environment characterised by limited infrastructure for active living combined with an energy-dense food supply. Further research is required to identify and quantify the strength of interactions between these potential environmental drivers of obesity in order to enable appropriate countermeasures to be developed.