Prime Minister Robert Abela has turned to employers as part of his appeal to get the whole country vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Speaking during an interview on ONE, Abela said it is crucial that everyone takes the vaccine. 

He said having 80% of the adult population vaccinated was not enough to beat the pandemic. 

Abela said it is a civic obligation to take the vaccine and convince the remaining 20% to get vaccinated. 

“Employers should convince their employees to take the vaccine. The time taken to return to normality will be extended unless the 20% get vaccinated”. 

Urges Opposition to get on board

The prime minister also appealed to parents to get children over the age of 12 vaccinated.  

He urged the Opposition to join the government in its appeal for everyone to take the vaccine. 

The government this week announced it will be banning anyone without a COVID-19 vaccine from entering the country. 

Abela clarified on Sunday that the ban would not apply to Maltese nationals residing in Malta who had travelled abroad prior to the ban. 

The legal notice setting out the rules for the ban, which comes into force on Wednesday, will have a transitory period for such cases.

A government spokesperson told Times of Malta the transitory period applies to all holders of a valid residence card.

PCR test for children under 12

He said children between the ages of five to 12 will still be able to enter with a negative PCR test. 

The rules for children under the age of five remain unchanged.

Those who cannot take the vaccine for medical reasons will be able to apply for an exemption at the discretion of the superintendence for public health. 

Stringent rules criticised by European Commission

Abela hinted that the stringent entry rules had been criticised by the European Commission. 

The prime minister said Malta was the first EU country to put in place such strict entry requirements. The decision he said, was a difficult yet necessary one. 

He said the decision was taken to protect the economy and the results achieved so far. 

COVID-19 cases spiked dramatically last week, with the increase largely being put down to unvaccinated English language students getting infected. 

The prime minister’s slammed the Opposition’s criticism of latest measures. 
He accused PN leader Bernard Grech of putting forward “populist” proposals based on what was being said on social media. 

Opposition leader Bernard Grech.Opposition leader Bernard Grech.

Abela said the PN’s proposals to stem the increase in COVID cases was half-baked. 

The PN has criticised the government’s latest measures as being “panicked” and “extreme”. 

FATF grey listing

Touching on Malta’s greylisting by the financial action task force, Abela said the country was undertaking the necessary changes to fight financial crime. 

“We are undertaking these changes because we believe in them, not because of the FATF”, he said. 

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