Two Omicron cases found in Malta, Vaccine Certificates must include Booster

From Monday 27 December up to Monday 17 January;

  • All organised events have to be seated;
  • Weddings and Funerals to continue with existing protocols;
  • Establishments have to close at 1am;
  • Sports events can continue, but behind closed doors;
  • Reduced visiting hours at Mater Dei Hospital.

From Monday 17 January

  • Vaccine certificate must now include booster jab and will only be valid for three months after the second dose or nine months after the booster;
  • Restaurants, Snack Bars, Bars, Clubs, Gyms, Pools and Spas, Casinos, Gaming Halls, Cinemas, Theatres and Sport venues will be open only for those who have a valid vaccination certificate;

Two Omicron coronavirus variant cases were recorded in Malta, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Dr Chris Fearne announced. Addressing a press conference on Thursday morning alongside Superintendent for Public Health Prof Charmaine Gauci, Dr Fearne said although hospitalisations and people in intensive care were under control, “we need to be cautious.”

He said that although Omicron was highly transmissible, the booster jab offers sufficient protection from the variant and announced that Malta is well placed to keep it under control.

Explaining that Malta has more than enough vaccines to ensure whoever is eligible can take a booster jab. 90% of people over 70 and 80% of people aged between 60 and 69 have so far taken a booster jab.

Fearne said that 41% of adults so far have received a booster dose and as of Monday adults over the age of 18 can register online for the booster jab.

“We have great trust in the booster,” Fearne said, as he warned that the Omicron will be the predominant variant of Covid in Malta in the coming weeks.

New measures from Monday 17 January

From 17 January, the vaccine certificate will include the booster jab, meaning whoever has taken two jabs will be given three months to get a booster jab in order to have a valid certificate.

The certificate, used to travel and access certain venues, will be then valid for nine months once the booster jab is taken.

Fearne said that from 17 January, bars, snack bars, restaurants, gyms, spas, casinos and bingo halls, theatres and cinemas, and sporting venues can only be accessed with valid vaccine certificates.

People under 18 who so far cannot take a booster, will have their certificates valid for 12 months.

From Monday 27 December to Monday 17 January, all events can only take place with seated attendees. Moreover, catering establishments cannot remain open beyond 1am until 17 January, and sport events will be held behind closed doors until then.

Fearne also announced that visiting hours at Mater Dei Hospital will be restricted but elderly care residences will not be impacted given that all residents have taken a booster jab.

He added that by the time schools reopen in January, government is aiming to have all children aged between 5 and 11 vaccinated.

Over 7,000 swab tests a day

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said the seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases was 392.

She also said that over 7,000 swab tests were carried out on Wednesday alone.

Gauci explained that 23% related to social activities as well as a high number from home gatherings and workplaces where social distancing and mask-wearing were not being enforced.

The superintendent also revealed that 6,500 people are currently in quarantine, including people who tested positive, contacts, and people who came from red zone countries.

Malta is currently dealing with a new wave of Covid-19 as several medical associations are calling for stricter measures to be introduced in the hopes of stemming a spike in Covid-19 cases.

On Wednesday, Fearne dispelled rumours on Gauci’s alleged resignation as Malta registered 582 coronavirus cases, the highest daily tally ever recorded to date since the pandemic began.

Public health consultant Tanya Melillo warned that Mater Dei Hospital was reaching its breaking point, as she added that numbers are expected to surge in the coming days.

However, Fearne played down the hospital alarm raised by some experts, saying it was under control with 53 virus cases being treated and three in intensive care. Those in ITU are in their late 50s, he added.

Article Source

About the Mediterranean Observer

The Mediterranean Observer is a news portal dedicated to travel tourism, and hospitality in the Mediterranean region. This portal is managed by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, based in the Mediterranean country of Malta.