The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

From Friday, vaccinated Maltese residents arriving from dark-red countries can quarantine at home

Wednesday, 15 September 2021, 14:07 Last update: about 5 days ago

Maltese residents arriving in Malta from a dark-red country will be allowed to quarantine at home as from this coming Friday, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Wednesday. 

The government was reacting to the calls for change of quarantine rules for Maltese returning from red list countries after controversy over the 14-day period of mandatory hotel quarantine people must spend when returning to the country. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Maltese citizens have so far had to stay in so-called quarantine hotels even if they assured the health authorities that they were ready to follow quarantine restrictions in their own property. 

Fearne said that the list of countries which are considered to be on the red list or dark-red list will be amended this week, as the country’s focus turns towards stopping the new Mu variant of Covid-19 from entering the country rather than the Delta variant – which has now made its way across the globe. 

He said that countries like Russia and India will likely be off the dark red list as a result. 

Fearne also announced that from Friday, the Canadian vaccine certificate will be recognised by Maltese health authorities.

When it comes to the mandatory quarantine measures – the 14-day quarantine period for those arriving from dark-red countries will remain in place, however those with a residence in Malta and who are vaccinated will be allowed to do their quarantine period at home and not at a hotel. 

This applies as long as they are in the company of vaccinated people or living alone. 

It will not apply if the person lives in a residence with a large number of people.

The measure will come into force from Friday 17 September at 8am.

One of the hotels used as a quarantine hotel for those travelling to Malta from dark-red countries


Fearne also gave details about the pandemic as a whole, revealing that 91% of Maltese residents eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine are now fully jabbed up.

He said that by the end of this week, they will have given the booster shot of the vaccine to all those who live in elderly homes in Malta and Gozo by the end of this week - meaning that this cohort would have been given the booster dose in the space of two weeks.

The rollout of the booster doses to those who are immunosuppressed is also on-going, while the rollout of booster doses to those who are over 70 years old will commence on Monday 27 September.

He said that out of the five who are receiving treatment in ITU, one patient is not vaccinated, but a number of patients who are in hospital are immunosuppressed - showing the need for a booster dose for this demographic.

The Malta Independent asked Minister Fearne to clarify the discrepancy in active cases of Covid-19 being reported daily.

A discrepancy was noted in the number of active cases. When one takes the total number of cases and reduces the total number of people who recovered and the number of deaths, one is left with a figure of around 1,100 cases. However, according to figures published by the health authorities, this figure stands at around 700 active cases currently in Malta. 

Fearne explained this discrepancy, saying that foreigners, particularly English students, who were positive for Covid-19 in Malta but were repatriated, were not classified as recovered patients in Malta, only as positive patients. Reason being that these people finished their quarantine period at their country of residence, thus this results in a discrepancy in figures.

Minister Fearne assured that the daily figures published by the health authorities are accurate.

Fielding questions from other journalists on what qualifies as a large household, Fearne said that arriving passengers from dark red countries will not be able to quarantine at their residency if they live in a household of more than four people.

Asked on whether the health authorities will consider giving refunds to those people who had to quarantine in hotel rooms before the rules changed, Health Minister did not confirm whether these will be issued or not.

He explained that the reason as to why this measure was introduced was solely to keep the public safe because, at the time, many passengers were arriving to Malta without a Covid-19 vaccine.

“At the time it was necessary to have stricter rules”, he said.

With regard to the booster shot being considered to being given for the whole community, Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci explained that the health authorities are constantly keeping updated with what is going on. It seems that the Covid-19 vaccine is working very positively to keep the public safe and we will be evaluating the different categories who might require a booster shot.

 

“By providing a booster shot, we will be providing the country with the best immunity as possible,” Gauci said.

The press conference can be viewed live below:

  • don't miss