The first cases of COVID-19 coronavirus community transmission were confirmed in Malta just minutes ago.

Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said nine new cases had been confirmed since Sunday of which three were locally transmitted cases. The total number of cases is now 30.

The local transmission cases are a 36-year-old healthcare worker who was infected by a colleague who had been abroad. This worker then infected another two, a man and a woman, 23, also healthcare workers.

One of the patients is from Gozo but the virus was transmitted in Malta. The patient has been returned to Malta and is being kept in isolation.

The imported cases are a Maltese woman, 26 who had been to Britain, a Maltese man, 36, who was infected while on holiday in Barcelona, a Spanish boy, 15, who came to Malta on holiday and was about to return home, an Italian woman, 49 who was in Rome, an English woman, 32 who came to Malta on March 13 and a Maltese man, 19, who went to Dublin.