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Chris Fearne Doesn’t Expect Winter COVID-19 Restrictions Unless New Variants Or Viruses Emerge

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Health Minister Chris Fearne has said he doesn’t expect Malta to re-introduce COVID-19 restrictions over the winter months barring the emergence of a new variant or virus.

At a press conference held today to discuss the Budget for 2022, Lovin Malta asked Fearne whether the government has budgeted for the possible reintroduction of restrictions over the winter and what its predictions for the national deficit will be in such a circumstance.

“I can’t guarantee that there won’t be another pandemic or another COVID-19 variant in the world, just like I can’t guarantee that there won’t be another earthquake, tsunami or national disaster,” the minister responded.

“However, given the current variants and the current situation, we’re prepared for the winter months. We have enough vaccine coverage, all tourists must be vaccinated and we have enough doses in stock to give everyone a booster dose if needs be.”

“Unless the pandemic situation changes through the emergence of new variants or viruses, we don’t expect there to be a situation that cannot be controlled.”

Malta has started to come to terms with the financial impact of the pandemic, with Finance Minister Clyde Caruana recently stating that COVID-19 has so far cost the nation around €1.5 billion. 

With hospitalisations remaining low over the past months despite the removal of most restrictions, Fearne said yesterday that the government can now place the pandemic “on the back-burner”.

Today he noted that Nikkei’s most recent COVID-19 Recovery Index placed Malta at the very top of the list, just ahead of Chile, Bahrain, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“The government consciously took a decision at the start of the pandemic to prioritise health but we also realised that healthy people are crucial to a strong economy,” Fearne said today.

“Therefore our decision to prioritise health wasn’t about us being against the economy, but a decision in favour of the economy.”

Are you confident that the worst of the pandemic is now over?

READ NEXT: Chris Fearne Reveals How Many Restaurants And Bars Now Restricting Access To Vaccinated People

Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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