Prime Minister Robert Abela on Sunday set May as the target for Malta to return to business as usual, where COVID-19 will be spoken about “as a thing of the past”. 

Addressing a political activity, Abela said January would be the starting point for this recovery as Malta begins to receive the vaccine for the pandemic. 

He vowed that the island would start 2021 with “a vaccine and €50 million worth of vouchers” to spend at local businesses. 

Abela praised the government’s handling of the pandemic, arguing that whilst much of Europe is in lockdown, Malta had managed to keep infection rates stable and there were days when COVID recoveries outstripped new infections. 

In October, the government announced the closure of bars in a bid to fight rising infections and deaths. 

Abela announced that bars which had opened up after the March wage supplement was announced would now be eligible to receive it. 

The prime minister accused the Opposition of politicising the virus. 

He slammed the PN’s COVID-19 action team for making a “dangerous” statement about there not being enough vaccine doses to go around. 

Abela said there would be enough doses to inoculate the whole population from one producer alone, with extra doses to spare. 

He also assured the facilities to store these doses were in place. 

Abela warned however that January would not immediately see the lifting of all restrictions put in place. 

He assured that Malta and Gozo would be among the first countries to recover from the pandemic. 

The prime minister said the wage supplement would only be phased out once all businesses had recovered. 

“We will leave no one behind…With this government, you know where you stand”. 

Malta's reputation abroad 'repaired'

Abela said the government had also managed to repair Malta’s reputation on the international stage. 

He said Malta is on the right path to passing a Moneyval assessment of its anti-money laundering systems. 

Abela hailed the police for recent investigations breakthroughs and expressed his pleasure at once again seeing the country’s institutions working and delivering results. 

Touching on immigration, Abela said migrant arrivals had stopped ever since he had visited Libya in May in a bid to tackle migrant departures from the North African country. 

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