All mask-wearing rules will eventually be removed, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci has conceded.
“It all depends on how much risk you’re willing to take,” Gauci said when asked by Times of Malta during an interview yesterday when people should wear their masks.
“The more you protect yourself and others the better it is, but we can’t continue with the mask forever so as time goes by and evidence shows they can be removed, we’ll go that way as well.”
Malta has removed several COVID-19 restrictions over the past months, with Health Minister Chris Fearne recently stating that the situation has stabilised to the point the pandemic can be placed “on the back-burner”.
Its efforts were recently recognised by Nikkei, which ranked Malta at the top of its global COVID-19 recovery index.
Here's our latest COVID-19 Recovery Index (As of Sept. 30)
— Nikkei Asia (@NikkeiAsia) October 6, 2021
However, the health authorities have faced criticism over the remaining restriction, particularly mandatory masks at school, a measure Fearne said will be re-assessed after the Christmas holidays.
Yesterday, Gauci said that not a single COVID-19 cluster has been linked to schools since the start of the term.
“There were just a few individual positive cases, but the consequence of this is that other children will be quarantined,” she said. “So we have to take all this into consideration. When evidence tells us the situation is stable we will reduce the measures.”
During the interview, Gauci also said that the common cold has returned to Malta this autumn, an illness that was practically nonexistent last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Stating that the symptoms of COVID-19 and the common cold are similar, she encouraged people who are unsure whether or not they have COVID-19 to get tested.
Should Malta remove mandatory masks at schools?