Malta is testing more people for COVID-19 per capita than all but two other countries worldwide, a global statistics site has shown, with a rate of 4.81 in terms of daily tests carried out per 1,000 people, as of 17th August. Only the Gulf nations of UAE and Bahrain score better, registering rates of 6.04 and 5.84 respectively, while New Zealand, the United States and the UK are ranked fourth, fifth and sixth.
Luxembourg is ranked seventh with a rate of 1.97, meaning Malta’s current testing rate is more than double that of any other EU member state.
However, Malta scores worse when it comes to the number of tests carried out per confirmed case, coming in 27th place with an infection rate of 72.7. To put it in perspective, New Zealand is ranked first, with 1,873 tests carried out for every positive case, while Myanmar and Latvia are second and third, with scores of 927 and 608.
Questions have been raised over whether it is fair for countries to blacklist Malta as a travel destination seeing as its recent surge in COVID-19 cases came hand in hand with a significant increase in testing. Malta has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, but no COVID-19 related deaths have been confirmed since 29th May.
The government has imposed a number of social distancing restrictions to contain the spread and has enforced the wearing of masks in a number of locations but the country hasn’t gone into quasi-lockdown as it did at the start of the pandemic last March. Meanwhile, several countries, including the UK, have forced people returning from Malta to go into quarantine, a major blow to the island’s tourism industry.
Find the full article here: https://lovinmalta.com/opinion/analysis/malta-ranked-third-best-worldwide-for-its-covid-19-testing-rate/Malta Will Lift Public Health Emergency On 30th June
Malta has set a date for when it will lift its public health emergency, along with other COVID-19 restrictions.
A legal notice signed by Health Minister Chris Fearne, along with Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci, has set 30th of June as the date when Malta will officially repeal its public health emergency.
The legal notice also repeals the closure of schools, suspension of organised events and the 75 person ban on public gatherings.
However, schools are expected to reopen in September as usual.
MALTA International Airport to open its doors soon
The airport will partially reopen on 1st July, with flights operating to and from Italy (except Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, and Piemonte), France (except Ile de France), Spain (except Madrid, Catalonia, Castilla-La Mancha, and Castilla y Leon in Spain), Poland (except Katowice), Iceland, Slovakia, Cyprus, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechia, Ireland, and Finland.
Travellers arriving directly from the countries and regions on this list will not be required to observe a 14-day quarantine but will be asked to declare that they had lived in the country of origin for at least four weeks prior to travelling. Guests will also be asked to fill in a passenger locator form, which would enable the health authorities to trace them swiftly should the need arise.Events up to 75 people can now take place in Malta
The 6 person ceiling on gatherings will be lifted on Friday to allow up to 75 people.
The Superintendent of Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci has confirmed that events can start taking place, but will be capped at 75 people and the social distancing guidelines will still apply.1st July official opening of airport and port
It’s official our airport and port will open up to incoming tourism as of the 1st of July 2020.
A handful of destinations have been selected, however the official list is expected to be released at the press conference held by the Prime Minister, this evening.
We look forward to welcoming you on our island very soon!Airport reopening date to be announced in the coming days
As insider-information reaches The Times of Malta yesterday regarding the Malta International Airport to start operating again on the 15th of July, neither Prime Minister Robert Abela nor Superintendant for Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, have confirmed this.
Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said The Prime Minister will announce the airport reopening date in the coming days. Last Saturday, the government announced the extension of the travel ban until at least June 15, but sources told Times of Malta that the authorities are expected to extend it by another month to make sure all precautions are in place to try to contain the virus.
What has definitely been confirmed by Malta Airport CEO Alan Borg, is that MIA will have to operate with limited winter and summer schedules. To be exact, around 70 of the 120 winter 2020/2021 routes have now been cancelled, as well as some 60 of the 144 summer 2021 routes.
Malta Tourism Authority about reopening Malta’s tourism infrastructure
The procedures explained in this document have been formulated for a number of tourism establishments and other tourism receiving operations to ensure rigid compliance in the fields of social distancing, enhanced hygienic practices and the minimisation of COVID-19 infection risks by establishments and operations re-opening for domestic and foreign tourism use following their closure earlier this year.
The procedures have been formulated bearing the advice made available by the International and Maltese Health Authorities as well as by drawing from best practice from other tourism receiving countries which is being constantly monitored and updated.
The objective of these procedures is to make these establishments assume self-responsibility and accountability for the introduction of additional measures aimed at addressing this extraordinary situation in a way which enshrines them in their routine, day to day management and operational practices. Enforcement of conditions falls within remit of Malta Tourism Authority and the Health Authorities.
The opening of different types of tourism establishments and attractions will not take place at once but in line with the chronological sequence outlined in the National Transition Strategy.
The introduction of sector-specific mandatory conditions and checklists which need to be completed and signed on a regular basis and the availability of record logs and certificates to complement these checklists will ensure that the highest standards are kept and that a record to assist inspections in checking that commitments which have been signed for by management are being respected and applied.
The available checklists are for:
• Accommodation Establishments (two separate sections for Collective Accommodation and Holiday Furnished Premises)
• Catering Establishments
• Outdoor Establishments including Lidos, Swimming Pools and Outside Entertainment Areas
• Beaches, Beach Establishments and Beach Concessions
The document also contains an appendix with Additional Notes and References for consultation and use by establishments to enable them to keep abreast of developments and guidelines as updated from time to time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. When will these new measures come into force?
A. Friday, 22nd May 2020
Q. My restaurant has both indoor and outdoor areas. Where can I serve my patrons?
A. You can serve customers both indoors and outdoors.
Q. What is the maximum number of persons sitting at one table inside or outside?
A. Six. Indoor dining is also restricted, with the number of people inside the premises. This is limited to 1 person for every 4 sqm plus the distance from chair to chair according to the protocol. Outdoor – six can stay on the same table. Chair to chair protocol is different from that of indoor.
Q. Re distance between tables etc at outdoor/indoor facilities?
A. Indoor: the distance from the back of a chair to the back of another the chair behind it shall be 2 metres apart any other direction 3 metres. Outdoor: the distance from the back of a chair to the back of another the chair behind it shall be 1 metre apart any other direction 2 metres.
Q. What about smoking?
A. Smoking is prohibited both inside and outside. Any person that wants to smoke shall do so at least 10 metres apart from the nearest outdoor table.
Q. A COVID-19 compliant sticker? What is this all about?
A. The sticker is a proof that the establishment is compliant with COVID-19 protocols. Therefore the establishment has reached the highest levels of cleanliness and safety. If in the following audits the establishment is found to be non-compliant, the sticker will be removed. Customers are advised to use establishments which have the sticker on display.
Q. What is the definition of outdoor in this context?
A. Covers that are in the openair outside the premises, which are either covered but with no enclosed sides or any internal yard which does not have any form of roofing. Roofs and open balconies are also considered as outdoor.
Q. Can bars that do not serve food operate?
A. No, bars cannot open for drinks only. Snack bars are permitted to open for the time being.
Q. Can I consume drinks while sitting or standing at the bar?
A. No. Owner has to provide a waiter service and bring the drinks to your table. No one is allowed sit/stand at the bar.
Q. Will Clubs (Każini) re-open?
A. Yes. They can serve food, drinks and appetizers at the tables, following the same guidelines that apply for restaurants. If they have a courtyard or outdoor space, they are only to serve in these areas.
Q. Do I need a certification against Legionella?
A. If your premises has been closed for more than a month you are obliged to get certified against Legionella. Further info may be found: Control of Legionella Regulations LN 5 of 2006 http://www.justiceservices.gov.mt/DownloadDocument.aspx?app=lp&itemid=16567&l=1
Q. What is the temperature of a person to refuse entry in the premises.
A. The temperature of any person over 37.2 on the forehead should not be allowed to enter the premises.
Q. Can I operate an indoor pool?
A. No. Only outdoor pools can operate.
Q. In toilets shall we use air flow dryers or revolving cloth towels?
A. No, air flow dryers or revolving cloth towels should NOT be used. Only Disposable paper towels (ideally from an automated dispenser) should be used.
Q. How can I keep social distance in lifts?
A. Sign at elevator entrance saying that only people in same party should use elevator together
Q. Can buffet be served?
A. No, only table service can be provided.
Q. Can we use condiments/sauces?
A. Only disposable sauces, or single use servings/bowls. Ideally all cutlery are placed in disposable bags/sleeve.
Q. Can I smoke whilst dining outside?
A. Smoking is NOT permitted neither inside nor outside. Smoking may only take place outdoors at least 10 metres away from any seating area.
Q. Can an establishment open if it does not have the MTA Compliance Sticker?
A. It is recommended that the MTA sticker is displayed before opening.
Q. Can restaurants and snack bars open before inspection, even after Friday 22 May?
A. They need to be compliant with the protocols before opening.
Q. Do premises have to close at 2300hrs?
A. If referring to catering establishments, the last order has to be taken by 2300hrs.
Q. My premises was still operating as a takeaway during these past weeks. It will now open as an indoor restaurant with a small number of tables. Do I need to carry out water certification (for Legionella)?
A. No. This only applies to those premises that were closed and have not used their storage tank water for more than a month.
Q: Regarding Boċċi Clubs: Can patrons actually play the Boċċi game? Is this allowed?
A. Yes. The game of Boċċi is an outdoor activity. It can be played, as long as the number of persons playing is not more than 6.
Q. I have a restaurant/pool. Does the 2m distance apply to people sitting at the same table of a restaurant? In the case of families spending a day by the pool, does the 1-person-per-sunbed rule apply also for children?
A. The 2m distance does not apply for people sitting at the same table, but to adjacent tables. Only one person per sunbed applies also to children. Only babies can stay on the same sunbed.
Q. According to the guidelines. cutlery has to be served in a paper bag, sealed. Can we use stainless steel cutlery or does it have to be single use?
A. You can continue to use the same cutlery as before. The guidelines have recommended that cutlery be placed in plastic bags, paper wrapping or otherwise.
Q. Can a restaurant just cover the hand dryer, without removing it?
A. Yes, they can just cover it properly so that it cannot be used.
Q. At our restaurant we have always washed dishes by hand. Must we invest in a dishwasher?
A. No, as long as dishes are washed thoroughly in hot soapy water and dried using disposable paper towels.
Q. What about diving?
A. Scubadiving is allowed as long as there are no more than 6 persons in the group and that divers use their own equipment.
Q. Where can I get more information?
A. You can contact the MTA’s Helpline on 21692447 or email email@example.com
As of tomorrow, people can start staying in Malta’s hotels under the new Covid-19 relaxed measures.
Malta is starting to rebuild its tourism industry step by step starting with the reopening of certain establishments. While the airport remains closed and tourism numbers will take long to recover, locals can begin to enjoy the island’s hotels and the amenities it has to offer.
The most interesting and crucial points from the 73-page document can be found hereunder:
1. How will this affect the reception or lobby area?
Receptionists will have to wear either a facemask or a visor and will stand behind a perspex barrier. The lobby will also be equipped with alcohol dispensers and disinfectant wipes which will also be provided for your luggage as you enter.
2. How can the room be paid for?
The document indicates that contactless payment methods will be made available to avoid any unnecessary contact.
3. Can the spa or indoor pool be used?
No indoor spas or pools are to be operated.
4. What about outdoor pools?
You can make use of a hotel’s outdoor pool but you can’t crowd in common areas and you’re only allowed one person per sunbed. Changing rooms will also be disinfected every hour and limited to a maximum of four people at a time.
5. Will room service be available?
Yes, room service will still be provided but with disposable condiments and single-use items. Also, instead of signing, a room service bill will be brought straight to your room.
6. What about hotel restaurants?
The same protocols apply to hotel restaurants as they do other restaurants including the prohibition of buffets.
7. Will elevator use be restricted?
A distance of two meters has to be kept between you and others in an elevator. If that cannot be enforced then only one person can use an elevator at a time.
8. How will check out function?
Guests are required to drop off their room keys at a ‘Central Key Card Deposit Box’ made available in every hotel lobby. Keys will be collected and disinfected for reuse.
After the first month of response, the World Health Organisation had already considered Malta as “a model country” in dealing with Coronavirus. Earlier this week Minister Health Chris Fearne announced that Malta ranked as the most trusted healthcare system in the whole European Union.
Closely following our small Mediterranean island are Denmark and Finland, with Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary ranking lowest.
France and Italy, two of the most robust healthcare systems in the world, placed just a little over the EU27 average when it came to trust. To this day, Italy has recorded the second largest number of deaths in the continent, following the United Kingdom.Malta among the lowest COVID-19 mortality rates in Europe
Malta’s mortality rate from Coronavirus is slightly above 1%, with 5 reported COVID-19 related deaths so far. Neighbouring Italy has a 13.8% mortality rate whilst Spain currently stands at 10.2%, however across the whole of Europe, the UK has the highest mortality rate at 15%.
There are only two states that have reported better results than us: the Vatican City which has reported 11 positive cases, Gibraltar with 144 and the Faeroe Islands with 187. None have registered a COVID-19-related death so far.HOPE lights up Spinola Bay
The Cavallieri Art Hotel lit up over forty rooms as a sign of gratitude to all frontliners during these trying times.
“This too shall pass, brighter days await us, and we will stand up again,” the hotel’s general manager Mark Camilleri said.
HOPE is what we all live for – an optimistic state of mind for the future. We look forward to buzzing with energy, health and super events in the very near future.. till then #KEEPSAFE!