Health Minister Chris Fearne yesterday announced that most remaining COVID-19 measures from May 2 will be lifted, namely that face-masks will no longer be mandatory anywhere except on flights, hospitals and in care homes.
Minister Fearne stated during a press conference, joined by Public Health Superintendent Prof Charmaine Gauci, that the administration wished to “advance towards normalcy with responsibility.”
Since May 2020, rules prohibiting the wearing of masks in stores, buses, and other public areas has been in effect as part of a slew of measures aimed at assisting companies in operating properly. Masks should still be used at large meetings or crowds, according to Fearne, but they are not required.
Unless they are also displaying signs of the virus, anyone living with a COVID-19 patient will no longer be required to quarantine. Only individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate as of May 2. They must stay in quarantine for one week, following which they can either leave with confirmation of a negative test or stay until the ninth day. Unless they exhibit signs of the virus, anybody in the same home does not need to quarantine. Hospitals and nursing facilities are exempt from this provision.
Travel rules to remain in force
When travelling to Malta, there will be no need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form, and weddings and other social events can proceed as usual.
While the Passenger Locator Form is no longer required, the majority of travel restrictions will continue in effect. Anyone coming in Malta will still need to show proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test, or a recovery certificate to gain access.
The travel lists in red and dark red will also stay in place.
The Health Minister attributed the easing of the restrictions to continually low numbers in the Mater Dei hospital’s intensive care unit, where 88 patients have COVID-19 and 39 are being treated for the virus, two of whom are in intensive care. Fearne also mentioned Malta’s remarkable vaccination uptake, with 97 percent of the eligible population receiving two doses and more than 80% choosing for the booster.
“This figure has remained this way for months, even as the community’s population has increased,” Fearne added. “Even as the number of new cases increased, the number of cases in ITU remained low, indicating that the vaccination is effective in preventing complications. Because we have all of this immunity and haven’t seen a jump in hospital cases despite the variations and other increases, our exit path, which we detailed months ago, can continue “he said “We’re getting close to the point where we’ll be able to eliminate all of the restrictions.”
249 additional cases
According to Prof Gauci, the virus was responsible for just 51% of COVID-19 fatalities in April, down from 76% before. There were 249 new instances of the infection on Friday.
A second booster is being given out for the elderly and fragile, with 7,000 doses already provided. “Clearly, the vaccination is to blame,” Gauci remarked. “We’re approaching the point where individuals will be able to make their own risk assessments while still safeguarding the most vulnerable.”
Except for one in Ħal Farruġ, all swabbing centres will stay open and free testing will continue.