New vaccination requirement bans Americans from visiting Malta
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Malta will become the first European Union country to require proof of vaccination for travelers starting this Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Friday.
Starting July 14, all visitors to Malta age 13 and up must present proof of full vaccination to enter the country, the Associated Press first reported on Saturday. If accompanied by vaccinated adults, travelers between the ages of five and 12 must show a negative PCR test to comply with the new restrictions, which exclude those under the age of five.
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Malta will accept COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued by the Maltese government, the National Health Service in the U.K. or the EU Digital COVID Certificate. CDC-issued vaccination certificates are not currently being accepted for entry into Malta, per the U.S. Embassy in Malta. Malta had been previously accepting U.S. travelers from 38 states who presented a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.
“This decision is being taken to protect the health of Maltese and Gozitans and to continue to safeguard a summer of work, which is crucial for the livelihood of thousands of Maltese and Gozitan families,” Fearne said in a statement. “This decision is also being taken because we still have a part of the Maltese and Gozitan population that is not vaccinated.”
Fearne attributed the spike in new COVID-19 cases to unvaccinated foreign visitors.
“The last few days have shown very clearly that the vaccine is working, so much so that despite the increase in the number of positive people with Covid-19, the majority of people were of foreign nationality and an absolute majority (over 90%) were not vaccinated,” he said, and also noted that nearly 83% of Maltese adults have had at least one dose and 77% are fully vaccinated.
“We need to be vaccinated to protect ourselves and those around us,” Fearne said on July 5, noting that those recently admitted to Mater Dei Hospital due to COVID-19 were unvaccinated. “That is why the health authorities stress that vaccination is the only solution to protect the Maltese people and Gozitans and return to normalcy.”
Earlier on Monday, the Maltese Ministry of Health announced that Fearne would be self-isolating after a family member tested positive for COVID-19.
Featured image of Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela and Health Minister Chris Fearne at a press conference related to COVID-19 by Xinhua/Jonathan Borg via Getty Images.
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