Malta opened its borders to more countries on Wednesday, as part of the country’s gradual return to normality.
The first commercial flights resumed on July 1 from so-called ‘safe corridor’ countries and from Wednesday, travellers from 50 countries are being allowed to touch down.
But, despite Prime Minister Robert Abela announcing all flight restrictions would be lifted, some countries are not on the list, including the US, which has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Here’s what to expect if travelling to and from Malta.
Which are the 50 countries on the list?
People will be arriving in Malta from Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, Uruguay and the Vatican, known as safe corridor countries.
If I arrive from one of these countries, will I have to quarantine in Malta?
No, you will not be asked to get swabbed and will not be subject to mandatory quarantine. However, if you fail a temperature test, you will have to be tested.
Can people travel to and from countries which are not on the list?
There are some countries not on the safe travel list, such as North Macedonia and the US. People are not allowed to travel from countries not included in the list, except if they are Maltese citizens or have a residency permit.
What are the restrictions for repatriation flights?
If you attempt to return to Malta through a repatriation route from a country not on the list, you need to:
• request a travel exemption;
• provide a negative nasopharyngeal swab test result (in English) done within the seven days prior to travelling;
• be tested again in Malta within 48 hours of arrival. Appointments can be made by contacting 111 or 2132 4086. Details of the appointment and results must be forwarded to email@example.com;
• fill in a passenger locator form;
• quarantine for 14 days, regardless of any negative swab results;
• if the test on arrival did not detect COVID-19, you will need to get re-tested between 10 and 13 days from arrival.
Those planning on travelling to Malta who are not Maltese nationals or do not have a residency permit need to apply for approval from the Superintendent of Public Health by sending an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
The superintendent may issue an exemption for travel on humanitarian grounds or if in her opinion the travel of certain people is deemed to be essential.
What if I have a connection flight from a country not on the list?
Travel to Malta from a country or region that is not on the list, transiting through a safe corridor country is only allowed if the traveller spends two weeks in one or more safe countries. So, if you are flying from the US to Malta, via Frankfurt, you would have to spend two weeks in Germany before travelling on to Malta.
Any person coming from any country not on the list and who has not spent at least 14 days in a safe country needs a special permit from the health authorities.
What should I expect once I land in Malta?
If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms during the flight, inform the crew immediately and do not leave your seat.
Once you arrive, expect to be subjected to body temperature screening. Again, if your body temperature exceeds 37.2°C, you will be interviewed by public health officials.
You will be asked to fill in a passenger locator form, including name, surname, passport number, telephone number and postal address.
At baggage reclaim, you may have to wait to approach the belt because of social distancing.
Once you pick up your luggage leave the terminal as soon as possible.
And if I’m leaving Malta?
Say your goodbyes outside of the terminal building. Put on your face mask before entering the building. Always carry a mask, not just a face shield or visor because some airlines have banned them.
Your temperature will be screened before entering the check-in hall. If it exceeds 37.2°C, you will be interviewed by health authorities and might be asked to leave the airport.
Have your boarding pass handy, preferably on your mobile phone. Security screening trays are cleaned frequently, however, you should clean your hands with the alcohol-based rub available at sanitising stations.
Water fountains are currently unavailable. Be patient, boarding might take longer than usual.
How are the health authorities ensuring that people actually fill in the passenger locator and travel declaration forms, and not submit them empty?
It’s not clear. Health authorities say there are ongoing discussions with airlines to ensure compliance of passenger locator and travel declaration forms.
It was initially reported that people will be able to travel to all countries as from July 15. Can people get a refund for tickets and accommodation in a country that is not on the list?
Yes, as long as the travel policy was purchased/issued without a COVID-19 exclusion and, if the travel insurance policy caters for it, the trigger for cancellation cover (i.e. travel ban) is one of the insured perils within the travel policy.
Information from the Health Ministry, Visit Malta, the Malta International Airport and the Malta Insurance Association.
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