Malta prohibits all visitors who are not completely vaccinated against COVID | Coronavirus pandemic news


The Health Minister says only those with a British or European vaccination certificate will be allowed to leave on 14 July.

Malta has said it will be the first European country to close its borders to all those who have not been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, following an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Only those with a British or European vaccination certificate will be allowed to leave on July 14, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Friday – suggesting that tourists from the US and elsewhere will be banned.

“We will be the first EU country to do that, but we need to protect our society,” Fearne told a news conference.

Malta has been hailed as a European success story for its vaccination campaign, with 79 per cent of the adult population currently fully vaccinated.

But by not reporting nine new cases and having only 28 active cases on June 27, the Mediterranean island nation reported 96 new virus infections on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases to 252.

“From Wednesday 14 July, anyone coming to Malta must be in possession of a recognized vaccination certificate: a Maltese certificate, a British certificate, or a European Union certificate,” Fearne told reporters.

The only exception will be unvaccinated children aged 5 to 12, who will be allowed in Malta if they have a negative test and are accompanied by fully vaccinated parents.

Previously visitors from the rest of the EU, the US and other countries were allowed to enter if they had shown a negative PCR coronavirus test or if they had been completely vaccinated.

Fearne said that about 90 per cent of the cases found in Malta are among unvaccinated people, and that many have been traced in English Language Schools.

The cases have been confirmed in nine schools so far, and as a result, all English Language Schools will be closing their doors from 14 July.

People are sitting in an open-air restaurant as restaurants and markets reopen for business after COVID-19 vaccinations reached 60 percent of the adult population in May. [File: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters]

Unlike other areas in Europe, the peak of coronavirus cases in Malta has not been reported Delta variant, which is believed to be more contagious.

Charmaine Gauci, health superintendent, said Friday that only seven of the country’s 252 active cases have been identified as Delta variants.

Malta has been in the last few weeks emerging from months of coronavirus restrictions.

“We have not changed other parts of our plan for now, but we will do so if science suggests we should,” the health minister said.

Malta has had 30,851 cases of viruses so far, recording 420 deaths.

People walk out of a vaccination center at the University of Malta [File: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters]





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