The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

Watch: Despite Omicron, outlook for Christmas remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ - minister

Sabrina Zammit Tuesday, 30 November 2021, 15:59 Last update: about 3 months ago

The emergence of a new Covid-19 variant has so far had no effect on bookings and the government remains “cautiously optimistic” about the Christmas period, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said on Tuesday.

Speaking to The Malta Independent, Bartolo did not say whether the government is mulling any new restrictive measures, insisting that the authorities always take decisions that are “based on science.”

A number of European countries have started to re-introduce Covid measures amid a spike in cases and several cases of the new variant, which is believed to be more transmissible.

The local authorities told this newsroom on Tuesday that no cases of the variant have been identified so far in Malta.

“We always take decisions based on science, and always in discussion with the health authorities and with the superintendence for public health. This is what we have done over the past months and what we will keep doing in the coming months. We will continue analysing the information that comes to us, and which is based on science,” Bartolo said when asked if any restrictions were in the works.

Bartolo said that, so far there are no plans to stop flights coming from European countries that have found Omicron cases. He added, however, that the government will continue monitoring the situation day by day so that if measures need to be taken, they will be taken in a timely manner.

Asked if he anticipates a drop in tourism numbers due to the new variant, Bartolo said this does not seem to be the case. “Bookings are good, and we remain cautiously optimistic for the Christmas period.”

Bartolo said the government wants to ensure that we have a sustainable recovery. “Our aim also remains to find a balance between people’s lives and their wellbeing, something on which Malta has been commended by the World Health Organisation.”

 

Video: Miguela Xuereb/Newsbook

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