The Prime Minister of Malta Robert Abela today declared that the country arrived at a point to start easing off restrictions thanks to the full cooperation by the Maltese public in the fight against COVID-19. During a press confernce held at Auberge de Castille, the Maltese Prime Minister said that the authorities are taking such decisions based on scientific evidence and the plan is to lift most of the restrictive measures within three weeks. He announced that commercial establishments will reopen as from Monday, but the airport and ports will remain closed.
More details were divulged by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, Chris Fearne. He said that as from Monday some businesses may reopen subject to a number of restrictions; VRT testing centres, jewellry, cloths and shoe shops, opticians and perfumery shops, hobby outlets and others selling furniture. Businesses will be required to allow 1 person per 10 metres. Before entering a shop, a hand sanitizer will be available. Thermal screening will be obligatory at shopping malls. Masks will be mandatory when accessing these services. Beauticians, hairdressers, bars, cafes and restaurants are not allowed to open yet.
The court registry will be reopened as from Monday too and restrictions on traveling between Malta and Gozo will be eased off. Passengers will be required to wear masks but the amount of passengers allowed onto the Gozo ferry will be controlled .
2 meters markings will be placed for the public to know where to stand, Fearne said. This will be done in cooperation with local councils.
The Deputy Prime Minister also said that since the number of active cases are low as from Monday several medical tests will be carried out at Mater Dei hospital. These will include CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, endoscopy tests and screening for cervical cancer. All health centres will resume providing free vaccines to minors. Chris Fearne explained that some health services were reduced in order to prepare for the coronavirus outbreak in Malta but insisted that the health services will be increased gradually.
The Maltese Deputy Prime Minister announced that two coronavirus cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours; a Gozitan man who was asymptomatic and a migrant residing at ?al Far open centre. The total number of active cases stands at 96.
While addressing the press conference, Professor Charmaine Gauci urged the full cooperation of the public as the measures will be rolled back. She said that teleworking has functioned and it is still considered as important and part of social distancing regulations. Prof. Gauci said that there may be asymptomatic individuals within the community and this was not the time for big public gatherings. She said that masks will be used as the restrictions are eased off. The Minister for Health remarked that the authorities were in touch with those producing or importing masks and visors to make sure that there are enough available.
Individuals considered to be vulnerable have been encouraged to remain home. The Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne warned that the virus is still within the community, and these individuals should take care and refrain from non-essential outings. He declared that measures will be reassessed over the coming three weeks and as from Monday, people may gathered in public in groups of four instead of three.