Malta to ease travel restrictions despite record Covid cases, spike in deaths

WHO Europe director calls on authorities to 'act now' amid Europe-wide spike


The government is set to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions as of Monday, despite Malta having a record number of positive cases and a spike in deaths linked to the virus.

According to the latest updates on Visit Malta, as of 25 July, people travelling to Malta without a vaccine certificate or a recovery certificate do not need to present a PCR/Rapid Test before arriving in the country, allowing travellers to enter without the requirement of presenting a vaccination recovery or test certificate upon arrival. 

This easing of measures comes at a time when Malta is experiencing a large spike in positive cases and COVID-related deaths, according to the latest report on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)’s weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Bulletin. Malta registered the highest COVID-19 death rate in the EU at 36.8 deaths per one million people – its highest rate since May.

The ECDC also reported Malta’s positivity rate to be among the highest in the EU, ranking behind Hungary, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Between 1 July and 17 July, Malta registered 36 COVID deaths, compared to 20 throughout June and 22 in May.

Malta’s positivity rate has been rising over the past few weeks and has reached a record rate since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Malta. The ECDC also forecasted deaths and positive cases to increase in July.

‘Act now’ – WHO

Most European Union/Schengen Area countries have already eased travel restrictions, according to Schengen Visa. On Tuesday, WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Henri P.Kluge issued a statement telling the authorities to “act now”.

Kluge said that we are currently “in a similar situation to last summer” – where the Delta variant amid the lifting of restrictions and increased social mixing drove a new wave of COVID-19 across the European region. This time, with a new variant. 

Only this time, the ongoing COVID-19 wave is being propelled by sub-lineages of the Omicron variant, notably BA.2 and BA.5, with each dominant sub-lineage of Omicron showing clear transmission advantages over the previously circulating viruses. 

Europe has seen a tripling of new cases over the past six weeks. While hospitalisation rates have doubled in the same period, intensive care unit admissions have remained relatively low so far.

“However, as infection rates in older groups continue to rise, Europe is still seeing close to 3,000 people die of COVID-19 every week,” Kluge said.   “With rising cases, we’re also seeing a rise in hospitalisations, which are only set to increase further in the autumn and winter months.”

On Tuesday, WHO Europe released its autumn/winter strategy for COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses to help prepare for the coming weeks of infection. Kluge warned that waiting for autumn to act “will be too late”.

The strategy calls on countries to relaunch mitigation efforts and be ready to respond to an increased burden on their healthcare systems. It calls on authorities to implement “pandemic stabilisers” that will be “critical” to protecting citizens during autumn and winter, including increasing vaccine uptake in the population, administering the second booster, promoting mask-wearing indoors and on public transport, ventilating crowded and public spaces.

These should be underpinned by initiatives including strengthening infection control practices and prioritising contact tracing and quarantining based on WHO recommendations, according to the strategy.

“If health authorities act now, they can help reduce the anticipated disruptions to society, including health worker absences and overburdened health systems, struggling businesses and travel chaos,” Kluge said.


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Francis Said
Francis Said
18 days ago

An obvious point. Unfortunately government and businesses still do not realise that Covid in whatever variant kills.
Basic controls and relevant improvements to minimise catching this virus is basically common sense.

KD Far
KD Far
17 days ago

Il-Covid m’ghadux perikoluz daqs kemm kien. L-inflazzjoni li hawn kawza tal-pandemija u l-ebda gvern ma jaffordja lura ghalk kif kien ghax ser infallu l-pajjizi u n-nies ha jibdew imutu bil-guh minflok bil-covid.

17 days ago

“Welcome To Malta – Europe’s Largest Mafia Theme Park. See The Mafia Up Close And Personal.
Fun For All The Families.”

Jean K Soler
Jean K Soler
17 days ago

The number of new cases is down, and the turnaround in the case numbers trend is clear from the daily numbers. People are still in denial about this trend, claiming it is invalid due to home testing, when it is clear that a seven-fold fall from the peak of over 700 new cases is absolutely, without any doubt, a real phenomenon. There is no excess mortality in Malta now, according to the Euromomo official EU mortality database.

In summer the disease is milder, and anyone can see that. With high levels of natural immunity and amongst the highest levels of vaccination in Europe, what more do we need to do? Masks clearly do not work, as the current turnaround happened without the need for masks mandates, and border closures to stop a virus which is already widespread is like closing the stable doors after the horse has bolted.

New Zealand and Australia tried to eliminate COVID-19, by closing borders, and are now amongst the countries worldwide with the highest infection rates.

The virus is getting milder, as many (including myself) have predicted, accurately. More than 99.8% of people who get COVID-19 recover fully, long-COVID is reported in up to 5% of people, and children do not die or suffer severe disease – only 5% have moderate symptoms according to a national Icelandic study, the rest have mild or no symptoms.

Why do we need to “act now”? What do we need to do? Lock Malta down for the next 100 years? The Spanish flu virus of 1918 is still in circulation in a derived variant. COVID-19 will be around for the same time, or more.

Those who wish to not travel for the rest of their lives, or stay at home, or wear a mask for ever, are free to do so. No-one is stopping them.

Of course, you will reply to this post by attacking me, and not the facts. I am used to that. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

17 days ago

Great Decision
The Covid Theatre needs to end and end soon. Deaths will happen but economy’s and country’s need to adapt and live with it.

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