Malta mask mandate looks set to be lifted in time for summer, COVID cases permitting, according to Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci.
Speaking on the Ask Charmaine show hosted by Times of Malta, Prof Gauci hinted that authorities hope the remaining mask mandate will be removed as cases continue to decline.
Masks are still mandatory in indoor public spaces, such as retail outlets and bars and restaurants (when not seated), at work, and on public transport.
Prof Gauci also discussed the move to allow the introduction of COVID self-testing kits, stating that authorities were aiming to make sure that only reliable and reputable brands could be imported and sold in Malta.
The kits will only be permitted to be sold by pharmacists, who will also be charged with advising customers on how to use them and what to do in the case of a positive results.
She also revealed that the results from these kits will not be included in the official tally of new virus cases, but that people who test positive should not go to work or school and should consult their doctor for isolation and care procedures.
Providing an update on Malta’s current COVID outlook, Prof Gauci explained that Malta had a peak of new cases last week, when positivity rates hit 21 per cent, but that this figure has now fallen to 16 per cent.
There are currently 131 COVID-positive patients in hospital, but 70 per cent of these are not because of COVID. Three patients are in intensive care, the Health Superintendent added.
Malta’s Government has recently announced a shift in its philosophy towards dealing with the pandemic, now placing the impetus on personal responsibility, while lifting a number of restrictions.
In time for the summer season, after facing significant pressure from hospitality lobby groups, a number of COVID-related travel restrictions have been announced.
Most notably, as from this week, COVID tests and recovery certificates will be accepted for arrivals into the country.
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It remains unclear whether insurance companies would benefit from additional certainty or balk at increased payouts