The superintendent of public health on Wednesday appealed for responsibility ‘from everyone’ after being asked about the way how political rallies are being held with scant observance of COVID-19 regulations.

Asked on Times of Malta’s Ask Charmaine programme whether she had spoken to Robert Abela and Bernard Grech, she insisted that the rules ‘apply to everyone’. It was not just the responsibility of organisers of events, all events, she said, but also the people who chose to go there.“The pandemic is still here’” she said.

Asked if the political rallies had contributed to an increase in cases, she said there were various reasons for the increase, and cases were also rising abroad. She also pointed out that all countries were seeing an increase of the BA2 lineage of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, with more transmissibility. Furthermore, as measures were relaxed, one could expect cases to rise. 

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Gauci was asked about concerns that the nine-month validity of vaccination certificates could soon expire in the case of the first people to receive the booster, and young people who had been given the second vaccine dose, but not the third. 

She said the matter is being discussed at EU level, especially because of travel considerations.

As to waning immunity, she said the situation was being carefully monitored. The booster, clearly was continuing to prevent complications of Covid, she said and hospital admissions and deaths remained low.

However the authorities had made arrangements for a fourth dose ‘in case we need it and it is approved by the European Medicines Agency.’ Asked about the possibility of accepting recovery certificates, Gauci said Malta was continuing to request vaccination certificates from travellers because reinfection was happening and there were therefore limitations on that score. The situation remained under study.  

On procedures at the elections counting hall, Gauci said vaccination certificates would be needed. Since this was a unique event, those without a certificate would need to produce a negative test taken up to 48 hours before.


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