No plans for more COVID-19 restrictions, Health Minister says

Over-50s asked to register for booster jab from next Monday

Health Minister Chris Fearne
Health Minister Chris Fearne

There are currently no plans to introduce further COVID-19 restrictions, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced.

Fearne was speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, inaugurating a new 112 call centre.

Fearne said that hospitalisations and ITU cases would impact restrictions and that right now, both were stable. “Unlike other countries, we’re not seeing the need to introduce more restriction,” Fearne said.

Fearne also said that once the European Medicines Agency (EMA) gives its approval, from mid-December, Malta will be in a position to start offering the vaccine to children between the ages of five and 11 years.

A decision is expected to be reached by EMA tomorrow afternoon. 

COVID-19 booster dose schedule accelerated 

The Minister also announced that Malta would speed up the booster process as Europe is experiencing a fourth wave. Apart from the elderly, the booster has already been offered to health workers, all front liners, teachers and even people suffering from conditions that reduce their immunity.

From Monday, all those between 50 and 59 can register to get the booster at Fearne said the aim is that all those aged between 50 and 59 will have been offered the booster by the end of December.

In addition, the process is three weeks in advance and therefore, by mid-December, Malta would have offered the booster to all those over 60 years of age.

Fearne also explained that six months must have passed between the second dose and the booster. Therefore there may be people over the age of 60 who will not receive an appointment for the time being.

Fearne said they would be offered the booster as soon as the six months had passed.

Fearne said that starting from January 2022, those aged 40 and 49 years will be able to register for the booster dose. 

Active cases breakdown

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said that the average age of COVID-19 cases was 37 and that imported cases were lower than they had previously been.

Gauci also highlighted that significant clusters were coming from households, workplaces as well as schools.

However, she added that around half of positive cases were sporadic; and as such, they did not know exactly where the virus had been contracted from.