The Malta Tourism Authority has issued a call for a second quarantine hotel after the one in St George’s Bay was approaching full capacity, Times of Malta has learnt.

A spokesperson for the authority confirmed that the call was made as the four-star Corinthia Marina 200-room hotel was almost full with 287 guests. Sources said the call, issued on Wednesday, closes on Friday and will then have to be processed in line with public procurement rules. A new designated hotel is expected to be chosen by mid next week.

The sources said private hoteliers were also in discussions to find a short-term solution to the issue by providing hotel facilities for quarantining purposes.

The authority on Wednesday announced through a Facebook post that unvaccinated people arriving in Malta will be charged at least €1,400 per room for their entire stay in a quarantine hotel.

The measure applies to anyone who arrives without an approved jab certificate.

Those who fail to complete the mandatory quarantine period, which is currently 14 days, face fines of up to €10,000.

Some of the details on the latest measures are still scant

An authority spokesman clarified that, if any tourist results positive prior to leaving Malta having arrived with all the necessary documentation in place, they will not be asked to pay for accommodation.

The quarantine measure came into force after the government backtracked on an earlier decision to only allow travellers who are fully vaccinated into Malta, with a legal notice confirming there will also be an option to quarantine.

The move came after the European Commission raised concerns about the outright ban being disproportionate.

Children under 12 and those with a medical reason for not taking the vaccine are exempt and are allowed to travel using a PCR test taken no later than 72 hours from arrival.

Despite the law coming into force on Wednesday, some of the details on the latest measures are still scant.

The legal notice does not make any distinction between tourists and Maltese residents and neither does it distinguish between those who are medically unable to get vaccinated and those who are opting not receive the vaccine.

The authorities have yet to say whether Maltese residents who are not vaccinated will be allowed to quarantine at home or if they will still have to stay at the designated hotels.

The quarantine hotel method is similar to that employed in the United Kingdom, where arrivals from red list countries are obliged to self-isolate in designated quarantine hotels at their own expense.

Uncertainty about quarantining and the new travel restrictions come as the health authorities on Wednesday said they had detected 218 new cases of infection overnight, one of the highest daily tallies in months.

The island now has 1,000 active cases, the highest number since March 29 and jumping from just 23 on June 21, less than a month ago.

The last time over 200 coronavirus cases were registered in a single day was on March 21, when 224 cases had been recorded.

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