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Malta reverses ban on unvaccinated tourists

Malta reverses ban on unvaccinated tourists

Now arrivals from EU and other Amber List countries are required to quarantine if not jabbed

Just hours before Malta’s controversial ban on unvaccinated arrivals was set to come into effect today, the Government issued a new legal notice, replacing the vaccination certificate requirement with the obligation to quarantine upon arrival.

14 days quarantine

According to the legal notice published late on Tuesday, unvaccinated incoming tourists from Amber List countries (including all EU member states) have to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in Malta. No further clarification has been provided, but local media speculate that these persons will need to self-isolate in an adequate hotel at their own expense.

Children aged 5-11 and those who cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons are exempted from presenting a vaccination certificate or self-isolating. Instead, they have to show a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival.

The same applies to Maltese residents who had booked their flight to Malta from any Amber List country before the legal notice came into force. Children under five can return without quarantining or showing any kind of document.

EC criticism

While not exactly a U-turn, the revised travel restrictions seem to address criticism from the European Commission. EC spokesman Christian Wigand said during a press briefing on Monday that while member states have a right to introduce curbs to protect public health, any measures that restrict free movement must be proportionate and non-discriminatory.

Wigand voiced concerns that the new travel rules could discriminate against people who are not fully vaccinated. He added that the Commission was in contact with the Maltese government, awaiting explanation of the measures.

Prime Minister Robert Abela has described the new travel rules as a “tough but necessary” measure to protect locals and the economy which would send a strong signal that vaccination is the only way out of the pandemic.

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