[WATCH] Limit on public gatherings lifted, Prime Minister announces removal of COVID-19 restrictions

Limit on public gatherings removed • Vulnerable people expected to go back to work • Child care facilities, bars and clubs to reopen • Church masses to return • Airport to reopen on 1 July • Social distancing, face masks and good hygiene principles to remain in force

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

Prime Minister Robert Abela says it is time for Malta to go back to work as government lifts COVID-19 restrictions in almost all sectors.

Addressing a press conference at Castille on Monday evening, Abela said the country was practically returning back to normal. He said the remaining restrictions on outlets will be lifted on Friday, the airport will be opened on 1 July and child care facilities will reopen.

He said that vulnerable persons given special dispensation not to attend work earlier during the pandemic will now be expected to return to work.

The limit of six imposed on public gatherings has now been lifted but mass events will not be allowed this summer.

This is the first press conference by Abela since March, which journalists were able to attend in person.

We do not need to remain in a state of war. We can go into a state of peace but always on alert Chris Fearne

Abela said it was government's preparedness and the people's discipline that enabled the country to come this far. He said social distancing rules, basic good personal hygiene and the use of masks would remain key principles during this period.

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said Malta had "won the war" and although other countries were still battling the virus, it did not mean Malta should be held back. "We do not need to remain in a state of war. We can go into a state of peace but always on alert because we have the systems in place to tackle a surge as quickly as possible," he said.

Fearne said the transmission rate of the virus, known as the R-Factor, has dropped to 0.5.

Today, one new positive case of COVID-19 was reported. Malta has 73 active cases.

Salient measures

  • Social distancing, emphasis on personal hygiene and use of face masks will remain in force
  • Vulnerable people expected to return to work
  • Limit on group gatherings in public lifted
  • Bars and clubs to reopen with mitigation measures like restaurants
  • All other outlets that have remained shut will be able to open
  • Childcare facilities will reopen with fewer children, who should also be kept in the same group
  • Masses in churches can start to be held from mid-June with mitigation measures
  • Airport will reopen from 1 July with direct flights to 19 countries and regions, incoming travellers will not be swabbed
  • Protocols for shops that have already opened will be simplified
  • Contact sports is still banned
  • No mass events this summer

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