Bars around Malta will remain closed, and restrictions on snack bars will apply, until at least New Year’s Day, Health Minister Chris Fearne has confirmed.
Restrictions were originally set to expire on 1st December, but Fearne announced on Xtra last night that they’e been extended to 1st January 2021.
“This wasn’t an easy decision,” Fearne said, urging people to maintain a sense of responsibility if organising or attending private gatherings over the festive season.
“We didn’t want to make private gatherings illegal, like the UK did, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be responsible until the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed, for the sake of your own health and the health of those around you.”
“This Christmas will come and go and we’ll be good when Christmas comes around next year.”
Malta is currently registering an average of 130 new COVID-19 cases on a weekly basis, way up from the high point of 22 it confirmed during the first wave earlier this week, and the death rate has increased.
However, Fearne said the current numbers cannot be compared with the first wave but with the second wave experienced by other European countries.
“All cases worry me and every death is a tragedy but you must compare,” he said. “In Poland, 45% of all COVID-19 tests emerge positive, in Czechia it’s 30%, and in Malta it’s 4%. This means the measures we introduced are working and the public is following them properly.”
“We can see fatigue all across Europe, but we now know that the vaccine isn’t far away and we’re urging people to make a last-ditch effort. The winter months are the hardest because it’s when COVID-19 is at its most active.”