The Malta Independent 20 October 2020, Tuesday

Malta risks losing place on Ireland’s safe travel list

Albert Galea Friday, 31 July 2020, 10:53 Last update: about 4 months ago

Malta is at risk of losing its place on Ireland’s ‘green list’, Irish media reported on Thursday.

The Irish Independent reported that after an up-tick in cases, Malta risks being dropped from Ireland’s ‘green list’, which determines whether a country is safe to travel to.

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Malta's 14-day rate was 6.9 per 100,000 yesterday, compared with 5.3 per 100,000 for Ireland, the Irish newspaper reported.

The list, which identifies countries where Irish tourists can holiday without quarantining on their return, is to be reviewed every two weeks.

The Irish Independent pointed out that Malta had just confirmed 65 new cases out of a group of 94 migrants – a number which has since risen to 66 – which is the largest cluster of cases since the pandemic hit Malta on March 7.

Since then, a further 19 migrants out of a second group of 33 who were rescued on Wednesday also tested positive for the virus.

However, a spike in cases was already underway with two clusters of 20 and 10 cases being traced back to two mass events: a weekend-long hotel party and the Santa Venera village feast respectively.

Excluding the migrants, Malta currently has 55 active cases – an increase from the situation in the past couple of weeks, where the number of active cases had been as low as 4.

The Irish Times on Thursday also reported on the possibility of Malta losing its place on the list, noting that the number of cases in the country had jumped by 590%.

People arriving into the State from countries on the green list do not need to spend 14 days in self-isolation or to restrict their movements.

A spokesperson for the Irish Government told the Irish Times that the locations on the green list have a “similar or lower incidence of the virus to Ireland”.

“A number of factors are taken into account – such as the number of new cases over the past 14 days per 100,000 of inhabitants, overall response to Covid-19 etc.”

“Data from the European centre of disease control which benchmarks countries based on the number of positive tests per 100,000 in the last 14 days is being used,” the spokesperson said.

The list is due to be reviewed on 4 August.

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