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Update: ban on unvaccinated travellers eased, quarantine added

Malta has eased its complete ban on any and all travellers wishing to enter the country without a vaccination certificate. Instead of refusing their entry outright, Malta is instead requiring that they undergo mandatory quarantine on arrival.

The compromise came just hours before the new restrictions were set to come into force, which received criticism from the European Commission, claiming that they were discriminatory. Last night, a legal notice was published, confirming the tweak.

What does the notice say exactly?

So, in a nutshell, the legal notice clarifies that unvaccinated arrivals from amber-list countries, which includes all EU states, can enter the country, but must “submit themselves to a period of quarantine.”

With regards to children under 12 and those who cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons, they must instead show a negative PCR test, which was performed no longer than 72 hours before arrival.

It’s also understood that those who have to go into mandatory quarantine will need to go to a hotel designated as such, at their own expense.

The measure is also expected to apply to Maltese travellers who have not yet been vaccinated. It does NOT apply, however, to those who had booked their flights prior to the measure being announced last Friday.

Why was Malta being criticised for its initial measure?

Last week, health minister Chris Fearne announced that only those who are in possession of a valid and recognised vaccination certificate would be allowed to enter Malta as of 14 July. Exceptions would only be made for those under the age of 12 and those allowed to travel after getting authorisation from the Superintendent of Public Health.

However, the following Monday, the Commission raised concerns about the outright ban being rather disproportionate. Member states are indeed within their rights to apply what’s referred to as an ‘emergency brake’ on public health grounds in certain situations, such as the emergence of the Delta variant. The commissioner, who is the EU’s vaccine task force chief, said a quarantine period is a possibility, for those who are unvaccinated.

Yesterday, during a press conference, Fearne defended the decision to enforce vaccination for travellers and said that while the majority of Maltese were not vaccinated, it was important to ensure that those who entered the country were similarly protected.

Any other measures?

As it stands, no. No further restrictions have been mentioned yet but the health minister did that that measures would not be tightened for as long as the number of hospital admissions remained low.

What do you think of the new amended measure?