People will be asked to show their ID cards and vaccine certificates to prove they are eligible to not wear a mask when rules change, Charmaine Gauci has told a news conference.

From July, anyone who has been vaccinated will be exempt from mask wearing in public spaces - but only if they alone, with another vaccinated person or with a child aged 11 or under. 

Asked how this rule would be enforced, Gauci said people would be asked to prove they have had the vaccine. 

"Come July, a person without a mask can show their vaccine certficate and ID card number. That means they will not be fined and can remain without a mask," she said.

"This is how we will be using the vaccine certificate both for travel but also locally," she said. 

Watch the news conference live below

Earlier this month, Malta introduced a law for vaccine certificates, but the legal notice suggested it would be used for travel. 

Health Minister Chris Fearne has since indicated it will be also used to help reopen the events industry. 

Gauci gave the details of how it would be used for enforcement during her weekly update on how Malta is progressing in its efforts to contain COVID-19. 

On Friday, Malta reported six new cases of COVID-19 after 2,288 tests, bringing the number of active cases to 66. 

Gauci confirmed that more than 500,000 doses of the vaccine have now been administered. 

The take up is the highest in the over 60s age group, dropping as the ages decrease. She said the vaccine coverage of at least one dose among the various cohorts is now:

  • Over 60s - 96%
  • 50-59      - 79%
  • 40-49      - 73%
  • 30-39      - 62%
  • 16-29      - 41%

Children aged 12-15 are expected to be invited to take the vaccine from next week, if it is approved by the European Medicines Agency. 

One intensive care patient

Just three people are being treated in hospital for COVID-19, one in the intensive treatment unit at Mater Dei, one in the infectious diseases unit and one in another ward of the hospital.

Of the cases that were confirmed this week, 11 were 'imported', meaning they were linked to people arriving in the island while nine were 'sporadic' cases.

The average age of a COVID-19 patient is now 33, she said. 

From next week, it will become mandatory for people travelling to Malta to either have been vaccinated or to show a negative PCR test before boarding, she said. 

Monitoring UK situation

However despite the low case numbers, Gauci insisted health authorities would continue to relax measures "slowly".

"We are going through different discussions to see how and when certain events can take place - but we will announce these dates and events later on," she said.

Gauci confirmed that Malta still has no cases of the B.1.617 India variant, which is becoming dominant in the UK. 

She said authorities are "monitoring" the situation in the UK. France, Austria and Germany are among the countries that have heightened restrictions for British arrivals due to fears over the highly-contagious variant. 

Asked about the residents of homes for the elderly, where there are still restrictions, Gauci promised further relaxation of measures "in the days to come".

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