Hundreds of people queued at the Malta International Airport's arrivals hall on Wednesday morning to have their COVID-19 documents checked before being allowed entry to the country.
People could be seen queuing up in the hall as they waited to exit the airport after several European flights landed between 10am and 1pm.
At least four flights landed within half an hour after 11am, while another two flights – one from Bologna and one from Vienna – landed within 10 minutes of each other at around 12.30pm.
As of Tuesday, people must present a Maltese vaccination certificate or negative result of a PCR test performed not longer than 72 hours before their arrival here. If they do not do so, they must pay €120 for a test at the airport and cover their quarantine costs.
They must also have a passenger locator form and a public health declaration.
A health ministry spokesperson said the queues were due to public health officials and police checking that each passenger had the correct documents.
"This morning a number of flights arrived in a short span of time which led over 600 passengers waiting to be checked at the various check points set up," she said.
"Passengers which were not in possession of a Maltese vaccine certificate or a negative PCR test were made to take the test, against a fee of €120, and were subsequently escorted to an identified accommodation till the PCR result was issued."
Earlier this week hoteliers reported feeling positive about the tourism season, but after seeing the crowds at the airport, people took to social media expressing fear of a surge in COVID cases, as measures relax.
On Wednesday health authorities’ data showed that 10 people have tested positive for COVID-19 overnight, the highest number since May 10.
On Monday restaurants will be allowed to seat six people per table (up from four), cinemas and theatres can reopen, bars and kazini can serve seated customers and groups of six will be allowed in public.
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