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COVID-19 restrictions update: new rules
Brand new rules and regulations were announced this morning during a conference by health minister Chris Fearne and superintendent of public health Charmaine Gauci. The two addressed event-related measures, whether or not pregnant women should be vaccinated and the mandatory quarantine rules.
Despite there being a spike in cases on the islands, the health authorities have made the decision to relax a number of measures, amid an effective vaccination drive. Fearne added that 86% of the population is now fully vaccinated.
Here is a run-through of all the measures that were discussed, mentioned and ultimately, relaxed:
As of 16 August, the number of those attending controlled seated events will increase. The number of clusters of people can increase from 200 to 300, provided that all of the cluster can increase to 500 people. Before you even ask; standing events will remain barred for the time being and the usual rules apply to events, such as social distancing and the wearing of masks at all times, unless eating or drinking.
“In no way are we saying that standing events will never happen but we need to move forward in a prudent way. Everything must be based on least-risk,” said Gauci. “Standing event, by definition, cannot have social distancing, and so they are riskier. We are in talks with stakeholders and we might possibly allow their gradual return without putting the hospital at risk,” she added.
With regards to those who have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive case, as of 16 August, all those who are fully vaccinated need only spend seven days in quarantine, as opposed to 14. The quarantine period is then brought to an end once a negative test is presented.
During the conference, Chris Fearne advised that pregnant women who are in their second or third trimester, which translates to 13 weeks onwards, should indeed take the COVID-19 vaccine, unless their doctor has told them otherwise. According to Fearne, this is a clear example of how data on vaccine has evolved and transformed.
“Initially, we did not have any evidence, and so the advice was to avoid taking the vaccine. Now, it seems that the risks of not getting vaccinated are higher, than if you were to take it,” he said.
Fearne added that the health authorities are in the process of studying the level of immunity within the community and with new variants emerging, immunocompromised people might require additional doses of the vaccine.
Therefore, from mid-September, an additional booster dose will be given to the immunocompromised and those in homes for the elderly. Around 15,000 booster doses will be needed for the identified groups.
What do you think of the news?