Bars and social clubs have been instructed to remain closed from Thursday, and groups of more than six people in public places will be fined, as part of a new wave of measures intended to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
Hours after Malta registered a drop in new cases on Monday, the government said the closure of bars, which were recently ordered to shut at 11pm, will remain in place until December 1 at 6am.
Snack bars and kiosks are exempt, however, they cannot sell alcoholic beverages. They will also have to remain closed between 11pm and 5am.
The maximum number of people allowed to gather in public places will go down from 10 to six.
This applies to people queuing in public, including bus stops, unless they keep two metres between themselves.
Those breaching this measure will be fined €200, or €100 if they settle the fine before proceedings kick off.
Earlier on Monday, doctors warned that urgent measures are needed to curb COVID-19 and avoid the collapse of the healthcare system.
The Malta Medical Association said that the seven-day moving average is now of 125 new COVID-19 cases per day, with two new deaths reported on Sunday. A total of 16 patients are in intensive care and over 80 people have been admitted to hospital.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Robert Abela hit out at public gatherings after 11pm. Addressing a political gathering in Gozo, Abela said it was clear that the government’s appeal for prudence was being ignored by some.
The previous day Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri rushed to defend enforcement agencies from criticism about lax enforcement of COVID-19 rules, after a photo showing youths huddled in groups on St George’s Bay went viral.
Several countries around the world have been forced to re-tighten measures amid a second spike in coronavirus cases.
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