Malta has recorded 55 new COVID-19 cases with the majority being students who are in the country to learn English. 

It is the highest single-day surge in more than two months, according to official figures, but it is understood that none of the new cases are being treated in hospital.

Health sources say 90 per cent of the new cases are unvaccinated and foreign arrivals, most of whom form a cohort of English-language students. 

The students are understood to have entered Malta with a negative PCR test but Times of Malta is informed the health ministry now plans to offer vaccines on arrival for any student planning to say in the country for longer than two months.

According to Visit Malta, there are around 40 schools in Malta and Gozo that teach English to students, mostly older teenagers, from abroad. 

Six recoveries were also announced on Thursday, meaning the current number of active cases of COVID-19 stands at 159.

There were no new deaths.

It is the first time since April 19 that daily cases have been as high, but the increase was not unexpected, having been predicted by the European Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation across Europe. 

On Wednesday, Health Minister Chris Fearne said that the fact that new virus cases were mostly being detected in unvaccinated people showed the need for everyone to get jabbed.

He said Malta's focus would increasingly shift to the rate of hospitalisation rather than new cases.

Along with the increase in COVID-19 patients, there has also been a jump in the highly contagious Delta variant, which now accounts for 10 cases.

However the WHO has said vaccines are expected to provide some protection against new variants because they elicit a broad immne response involving a range of antibodies and cells. 

Around 78 per cent of adults in Malta are fully vaccinated.

From July 19, walk-in clinics are to be opened to offer the vaccine to anyone who can prove their residence, even if they have not yet received an ID card.  

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