Malta to lift more COVID-19 restrictions
Malta's Health Minister Chris Fearne announced the lifting of more COVID-19 restrictions, since the rate of fully-vaccinated adults in the country has now reached 86 percent, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
Addressing a news conference, Fearne said that from Aug. 16, the capacity for outdoor, seated events would increase from 200 to 300, as long as mask-wearing and social distancing is maintained. From Aug. 30, the capacity will further increase to 500, but all those who attend will have to be vaccinated.
However, he emphasised that standing events remain off-limits, and the number of guests permitted at weddings has been capped at 100 guests indoors and 300 outdoors.
Fearne also announced that from Aug. 16, vaccinated people who have had contact with a COVID-19 case will only have to quarantine for seven days instead of 14. However, this only applies to those with a vaccination certificate, and anyone who tests positive will still have to quarantine for the full period.
The health minister outlined plans for a booster vaccine shot to be given to the elderly from next month onwards. A single booster shot will be given to people who are immuno-compromised as a result of a medical condition, and to residents in care homes for the elderly.
Regarding the COVID-19 situation in Malta, Fearne said that the country currently has 1,206 active cases and that 95 percent of cases last week could be traced to the Delta variant, which originated in India, with the remainder being the Gamma variant which originated in Brazil.
The health authorities on Thursday reported 78 new cases of COVID-19, as an 88-year-old woman died from COVID-19, bring the total deaths from the disease in Malta to 424.
Meanwhile, Fearne said that pregnant women who are in their second and third trimester are now encouraged to have the vaccine unless advised otherwise by their doctor. Pregnant women were previously warned not to take the vaccine.
Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci told the same news conference that 60 percent of cases reported in July were related to travel.