The vast majority of Malta’s active COVID-19 cases are foreigners who arrived in Malta without having been vaccinated against the virus, health minister Chris Fearne announced this afternoon.
Asked for his reaction to the European Commission describing Malta’s decision to ban anyone who is unvaccinated from travelling to the island, Fearne pointed to the fact that most of the people who had tested positive were unvaccinated people who had arrived from abroad.
Malta, he said, had rushed ahead with its vaccine rollout and couldn’t be forced to bear the brunt of other countries’ delays.
Fearne was addressing a press conference announcing the death of a five-year-old girl who died last Saturday and who had been found to have traces of the virus in her body at the time of her passing.
The deputy Prime Minister said it was too early to tell whether her death was linked to the virus, adding that investigations were underway to determine the exact circumstances behind the death.
Malta has registered over 100 new cases every day for the past five days as an increasing number of tourists arrive in Malta.
The surge in cases has resulted in the government imposing new restrictions, including a ban on unvaccinated individuals travelling to Malta as well as the closure of English language schools.
Fearne said that positive cases had been registered in 16 schools – roughly half the amount operating in Malta.
The minister also confirmed that seven people were currently receiving treatment in hospital, one of whom was in intensive care.
He added that roughly 15% of active cases at the moment were Maltese. Roughly two-thirds were foreign, while some 90% were unvaccinated.
While the number of hospitalisations had so far remained relatively low, Fearne noted that it normally takes some weeks after a spike in community cases for there to be a similar spike in hospitals.
He stressed that the only effective way of fighting the virus remained getting vaccinated, urging those that had not done so yet to make an appointment as soon as possible.
As of this week, a number of mobile vaccination clinics will be dispatched to different localities in an attempt to increase the number of vaccinated people. No appointment will need to be set beforehand.
Moreover, Fearne said the government was presently in talks with a number of countries in order for Malta to recognise their vaccine certificates.
Asked whether he felt it was time for the government to give a regular update on the number of hospitalisations, Fearne was evasive, insisting instead that authorities were updating the public on developments whenever this became necessary.
What do you make of the minister’s remarks?