Tuesday. 21.05.2024

Malta moved to restrict public events as it reported its first known cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant on Thursday.

The new restrictions were announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne as the country reported a record 733 newly detected infections. 

As of Monday, standing events will be banned, with the exception of weddings and funerals, and establishments will have to close their doors at 1 a.m. Sports events will be closed to spectators.

The new restrictions are to remain in force until 17 January, when access to bars, restaurants, cafes, sporting events, theatres and other establishments will start being restricted to vaccine certificate holders. Certificates will remain valid for nine months after a person receives their booster dose, Fearne said.

Malta has one of Europe's highest vaccination rates, with roughly 93% of the eligible population double-jabbed. So far, 41% of adults have received a booster dose.

Omicron variant

Record numbers of cases have been detected in Malta this week, with the minister saying that lab testing has confirmed that some of them are of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

While new cases have hit record highs, the number of hospitalized patients remains far lower than it was in the spring, when Malta last recorded record case numbers. 

Malta adds Covid restrictions as cases hit record highs