COVID-19: Bars and band clubs to remain shut in March, Chris Fearne says

Closure of bars and band clubs to be extended • COVID-19 UK variant made up 8% of all new Malta cases over the past seven days 

Bars and band clubs will be kept closed throughout March, Health Minister Chris Fearne said.

The announcement was made during a press conference at Mater Dei Hospital on Wednesday.

Fearne said that the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus made up 8% of all new Malta cases over the last week.

The health minister said that while Malta is doing well, in regards to the vaccine rollout, it was important to continue to follow health guidelines.

Fearne said that the closure for bars and band clubs would be extended until the end of March.

The health minister said that following advice from experts the AstraZeneca vaccine would now be given to those aged between 55 and 65.

Fearne said that 75 to 80-year-olds would also start receiving a vaccination invitation for appointments from 8 March.

He said that care homes would see measures relaxed due to the success of the vaccine rollout. "Those homes where 90% of the residents had the second dose will see the shields go down," he said.

In the previous months, relatives and resident were separated by a perspex shield, and some care homes had banned visitors outright.

The health minister also explained Wednesday’s high figures were partly due to the inclusion of rapid testing resulting.

Fearne said 15% of cases in the last week were rapid testing results.