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Malta bans all visitors who are not fully vaccinated against COVID

Tourists go to a taxi rank after arriving in Malta in the midst of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), when Malta officially restarted its tourist season at Malta’s international airport outside Luqa, Malta on June 1, 2021. REUTERS / Darrin Zammit Lupi

VALLETTA July 9 (Reuters) – Malta bans all visitors from entering the country from Wednesday unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-1

9, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Friday.

“We want to be the first EU country to do so, but we need to protect our society,” Fearne told a news conference.

He spoke after the small Mediterranean island saw a doubling of new cases of COVID-19 every day since Monday.

To date, tourists could come to Malta if they were fully vaccinated or could produce a negative PCR test. The only exception is British tourists who already need to be fully vaccinated due to the prevalence of the Delta variant there.

Fearne said the recent rise in new cases had been among visitors who, while producing a negative test before boarding the plane, had not been vaccinated.

Most of them were young people attending English-language schools. Such schools are ordered closed from Wednesday.

The Minister said that Malta only recognized vaccination certificates issued by the European Union and the United Kingdom.

He said the EU’s so-called ‘green certificate’ is currently certifying people who are fully vaccinated or who are testing positive or have recovered from the virus.

“From Wednesday, we will only recognize the part of the EU certificate that people are fully vaccinated,” he said.

The only exception is unvaccinated children aged 5-12 years who are allowed to travel to Malta if they have a negative test and are accompanied by fully vaccinated parents.

Malta has fully vaccinated 79% of its adult population and wants to raise this figure to 85%.

Malta had several days where it had no new COVID-19 cases in June, but the number has risen sharply this week, hitting 96 on Friday. The degree of positivity has increased to 1.18 per. 100 tests.

Reporting by Christopher Scicluna; Editing Crispian Balmer

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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