Outdoor standing events will be allowed to resume without restrictions from April 11, while children would not need to wear masks in school after the Easter holidays, if COVID-19 cases remain under control.

Health Minister Chris Fearne announced further relaxation of measures as he gave an update on the COVID-19 situation in Malta.

While there will be no restrictions on standing events outdoors, those that take place inside will be limited to people who hold valid vaccine certificates.

"We're at the finish line," Fearne said.

"We're reducing quarantine, mask use and travel restrictions at a pace that does not endanger people."

Masks in school

Fearne's news conference came after pressure from parents to allow their children to remove their masks at school.

He said masks would remain obligatory in this term. 

However, he said he would analyse the situation during the Easter holidays.

"If the numbers remain the same, then we will be able to recommend that for the term after Easter, children will not need to wear masks in class," he said.

Community transmission remains low and Malta has the highest booster uptake in the world, he said, with 80 per cent of adults having taken a third dose of the vaccine. 

Quarantine eased

Rules around quarantine have also been eased slightly. 

From March 7, vaccinated people who have been in contact with COVID-19 cases will not have to quarantine at all. 

Unvaccinated contacts must self-isolate for five days on condition of a negative PCR test.

"If your child, for example, is in contact with a case in school he has to do 14 days in quarantine, but from March 7, this will go down to five days," he explained.

Those who live with positive cases and are vaccinated will see their quarantine period reduced to seven days, with a negative PCR test. 

The quarantine period for COVID-19 cases has not been reduced. Those who are vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days or test at day 7 and release if negative. Unvaccinated patients and household contacts must quarantine for 14 days.

Dark-red countries

Anyone who is fully vaccinated and arriving in Malta from a dark-red country will have to quarantine for seven days, down from 10.

Also from March 7, vaccine certificates that are not approved by the European Medicines Agency but recognised by the World Health Organisation will be deemed valid in Malta. People carrying one of these vaccines, including Sinopharm and Covishield, will still need a negative PCR test to travel to Malta. 

"This means companies that employ people arriving from Asia, now benefit from reduced qurantine, and if from a red country, no need to quarantine at all," Fearne said.

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