Maltese authorities have announced that the country's borders will reopen from July 1 after they were closed due to spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). From July 1, arrivals from 18 Schengen area countries and Israel will be able to enter the country without undergoing a 14-day mandatory quarantine. A full list of countries included in this phase of reopening can be found here. Authorities stated that they currently plan to permit arrivals from other countries, including the UK, from July 15. Travellers will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and will only proceed to their own accommodation if they test negative. Tourists will be required to wear face masks at the airport and en route to and from their hotel. The beginning of the easing coincides with the resumption of international flights to Malta on July 1.
Malta has eased COVID-19 restrictions in recent weeks, with museums, tourist sites, restaurants, bars, hairdressers, and sports facilities reopening, although social distancing measures and capacity limits will be enforced. Public transport has resumed and restrictions on travel between Malta and Gozo have been eased. The wearing of face masks is mandatory on public transport and in shops. Public gatherings of more than 75 people remain banned and social distancing is advised.
As of Saturday, June 20, authorities have confirmed 664 cases of COVID-19 in the country and nine associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.