Should hospital admissions related to COVID-19 remain manageable despite rising daily transmission rates, Government will prefer to focus its efforts on encouraging more people to receive their COVID-19 jab rather than on imposing new restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Tuesday at a press briefing.
Malta has in recent days undergone a spike in COVID daily transmission rates, resulting in a ban on unvaccinated travel as of Wednesday 14th July and the closure of English Language schools on the same date.
Minister Fearne confirmed that currently, there are seven patients in hospital related to COVID-19, with one foreign unvaccinated patient of the seven being treated at ITU.
“If we manage to keep the number of hospital cases related to COVID-19 low, and we will have a better idea of this in the coming days and weeks, we will focus more on the vaccine rather than restrictions,” he said at a press briefing.
Minister Fearne reminded the public that in the past, hospital numbers went up some days and weeks after a spike in cases, and the level of protection provided by the jab will be made clearer in the coming weeks.
Currently, 84 per cent of Malta’s population has received at least one dose of the jab, while around 80 per cent are fully vaccinated. The Government is aiming for 85 per cent being fully vaccinated so that Malta will be adequately protected against the Delta variant that has been ripping through Europe.
Asked about the European Commission’s criticism of Malta’s decision to ban unvaccinated travellers to the country, Minister Fearne said that while Malta believes in the spirit of cooperation, which is why it supported the shared vaccine procurement programme launched by the EU, he decried the low levels of vaccination across the EU.
“Malta has 80 per cent of its people fully vaccinated, whereas the average in the EU is around 40 per cent. We wish for those visiting Malta to be vaccinated to keep the situation under control,” he said.
On the closure of language schools, set to come into effect on Wednesday (tomorrow), he confirmed a legal notice regulating the parameters of their closure will be coming out “in the coming hours” while 16 language schools have been found with COVID positive cases, up from nine last Friday.
As of Tuesday, Malta had 782 known active COVID cases. Minister Fearne shared that in the recent spike, more than two-thirds are among foreign nationals, with 15 per cent being Maltese citizens, with some others being foreign nationals who are residents of Malta.
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