The Malta Chamber has welcomed the news that Malta has reached herd immunity but warned that “the real test is yet to come” and that the population should exercise cautious optimism and to remain vigilant.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, the Chamber explained that while it was pleased with the herd immunity news, “the pandemic is not yet behind us”.
Furthermore, it said, many of the businesses that played a crucial role in the achieving of this herd immunity “are still in survival mode” and can only thrive if there is “certainty, visibility and consumer confidence”.
The Chamber also reiterated its calls for a plan to be drafted under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRP), pointing out that “while 23 EU member states have already drafted consulted and submitted their RRP plans for approval”, Malta has not.
This is vital, the Chamber contended, as RRP is needed for businesses to start planning how to thrive instead of how to survive.
“No sector should be forgotten or left behind. Every job is important. Every sector is important”, it proclaimed.
Looking to the future, the Chamber acknowledged that while herd immunity will help infections to “naturally taper off”, the real test will “most likely” come in a few weeks time when Malta continues to lift its restrictions and fully reopen its borders.
Considering this, the Chamber urged caution and said that authorities must strengthen their existing enforcement measures and implement stricter border controls.
“Otherwise, the efforts of everyone including the businesses who stepped up and played a critical role in encouraging and supporting their employees to get vaccinated would be futile”, it said.
The statement came as the country on Monday reached two fresh milestones in the fight against COVID.
Aside from the reaching of the 70 per cent first-dose vaccine coverage, which has been identified as being required for herd immunity, a fresh wave of restrictions were lifted on Monday.
Restaurants were allowed to operate with significantly expanded opening hours, gyms and swimming pools were reopened, and daycare centres were permitted to operate.
Also announced was that from 1st July, Malta’s controversial outdoor mask mandate will be partially lifted for fully-vaccinated individuals.
Additionally, announcing the herd immunity, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne did not rule out the further relaxation of measures to permit mass events this summer and said that their return would be reliant on a strong vaccination programme.
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