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No Plans To Scrap Mandatory Face Mask Measures Despite Vaccine Rollout, Says Charmaine Gauci

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Public health measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place for the foreseeable future, despite the start of the vaccine rollout.

Responding to questions on Times of Malta, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci explained that mitigation measures will continue to serve as “the main public health tools” to help control the spread and transmission of COVID-19. 

“Even with vaccines starting to become available now, it will take time to make a visible impact on the course of the pandemic,” she said.

“Public health measures must therefore continue to be employed until further evaluation along the vaccine rollout.”

The current public health measures included the mandatory wearing of face masks outside, physical distancing and limitations on social gathers. Moreover, bars continue to remain closed with restaurants alone being allowed to serve alcohol. 

Malta began inoculating its population last Sunday, starting with a Mater Dei nurse. The country has received two consignments of the new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine so far, with the latest shipment arriving yesterday.

Gozo also began the process of inoculating its population, starting with a nurse, Felicienne Cini, who received her jab on live TV and in the presence of Prime Minister Robert Abela, Health Minister Chris Fearne and Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri

Despite the vaccine arriving sooner than initially expected, the logistical effort of inoculating a whole population is expected to take months. Doses have been split into cohorts with priority groups, those who are considered vulnerable, first in line. 

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