[WATCH] MaltaToday’s year in review for 2021

Watch as we wrap up the key moments of the year in COVID, politics, weather, and culture - in just six minutes

Many entered the Christmas period with a sense of déjà vu as our social interactions were conditioned by the pandemic.

We started 2021 with rising COVID cases and relatively light measures in place to combat the spike. By March, non-essential shop owners had to close their stores while teachers had to move their classes online. Active cases exceeded the 3,000-mark, and hospitalisations ran high. It was only when we reached herd immunity at the start of summer on the back of a sustained vaccination campaign that we started to get a taste of what the new normal means for us.

But what was the new normal this year?

COVID aside, we saw bold new laws put forward in parliament. Cannabis is now legal, and a historic abortion decriminalisation Bill presented by independent MP Marlene Farrugia set the ball rolling for a nationwide debate.

The public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia was also a moment of reckoning. As a country we’re far more aware now of the state's shortcomings that led to her murder, and we’re now better equipped to prevent the same thing from happening again.

And while we have a long way to go in terms of good governance, the several resignations we saw this year means that, at the very least, we’re heading in the right direction in keeping our politicians accountable.

The road to 2022 has been a bumpy ride. Even more so now that COVID cases have skyrocketed and many must spent their Christmas in quarantine. But our steady vaccination booster drive, coupled with political and governmental milestones, are paving the way for a new normal that might just be better than what we had in 2019.