Chris Fearne

Chris Fearne, Malta’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, has insisted that COVID restrictions in Malta will be relaxed slowly, saying, “going down the mountain is possibly more hazardous than coming up”.

In a broad interview with CNBC, discussing topics ranging from Malta’s plans for summer tourism to shared medical procurements, Mr Fearne warned that the relaxation of COVID restrictions in Malta will need to be considered in a “scientific, and a gradual way”. 

When asked about whether it is too soon to be thinking about accepting tourists back from abroad, he predicted that by summer, Malta will likely be “one of the safest places for people to travel to, because the vast majority of the country will have been vaccinated”.

Indeed, the Government has announced plans to open up Malta to international tourists as of 1st June.

Mr Fearne explained that once people are vaccinated, “and we know the vaccines protect not only yourself, but also people around you”, then Malta will be able to receive vaccinated tourists in a safe manner.

He also proclaimed the success of the Maltese vaccination rollout, saying “if vaccination was an Olympic sport, Malta would probably be a gold medallist”.

Addressing international disputes around vaccine supplies, he said, “this is not the time for vaccine wars”, but rather for “vaccine diplomacy”. 

“This is a question of working together not against each other. Our only enemy is the virus”. 

Mr Fearne’s comments come while, as revealed by Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci on Friday, authorities are drawing up a plan to potentially ease parts of the quasi-lockdown in place. To do so, she said, the relevant authorities were working towards identifying the hotspots of COVID transmission.

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