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The latest: new COVID-19 measures

The latest: new COVID-19 measures

First things first, the Maltese health authorities have announced that two cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in Malta, with health minister Chris Fearne speculating that the variant is to blame for the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Despite the number of cases being high, the rate of hospitalisations remain relatively low, at 53. That being said, Chris Fearne announced a number of measures, half of which will come into force as of 17 January, 2022 and half as of 27 December, 2021.

Measures as of 17 January 2022

As of the 17 of January, said Chris Fearne, bars, snack bars, restaurants, gyms, pools and spas, band clubs, cinemas, theatres, casinos, bingo halls, organised events and sporting events will only be accessible to dose with a valid vaccine certificate.

That being said, temperature checks, masks and attendee capping must still take place at the places mentioned above.

With regards to children under the age of 12, they are, as it stands, exempt and can enter these establishments.

Measures as of 27 December

As of next Monday, all licensed establishments must shut by 1am, all events must be seated, with the exception of weddings and funerals and sporting events can still be held, without spectators. Also, visiting hours at Mater Dei hospital will be restricted however, given that most people at care homes have received the booster dose, elderly homes will not be affected by any measures.

The booster

Currently, there is a major drive to encourage everyone (and their mother) to take the vaccine and the booster, too. “The booster will be the basis for the work we will be carrying out in the coming weeks and months,” said Chris Fearne.

In fact, 182,000 people have received the booster vaccine, translating to 41% of the Maltese and Gozitan residents having been boosted. As it stands, registration for the booster dose is open to anyone who is fully vaccinated and aged 35 and over. As from next Monday, anyone aged 18 and over will be able to register for the booster vaccine from here.

Visit BirdLife for more information. The reserve is open between September and May.