COVID TEST

The Medical Association of Malta (MAM) has called out the “current practice” of allowing passengers to board commercial flights with random COVID-19 swabbing on arrival, saying it presents “significant risks” to the public.

In a statement issued on Tuesday morning, the MAM said such a practice runs the risk of COVID positive individuals spreading the virus to other passengers, and is also a cause for concern in view of new variants emerging.

The MAM also raised concerns that the vaccination drive may have to start afresh should new COVID variants spread through the country because of this “board now – check later” practice.

Last week, the Government announced Malta would welcome tourists on 1st June and provide €20 million in aid to kickstart the industry.

As of 29th March, all countries on Malta’s travel green list were transferred to the amber list, meaning all incoming visitors are obligated to present a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding the plane.

General Secretary of the MAM Martin Balzan, when asked to clarify whether the association’s statement refers to when Malta reopens to tourists from 1st June, he replied in the negative, adding that the MAM has received information that currently, when travellers do not present a negative test certificate, they are still being allowed to board and sometimes get swabbed on arrival.

Turning to the easing of restrictions, with current COVID limitations in place until at least 11th April, the MAM said that large scale events where social distancing is unrealistic should not take place until Malta reaches herd immunity.

It said these events should be the very last to open, and possibly after the protective effects of vaccines on such events has been scientifically demonstrated.

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