Malta was on Monday recorded as having the sixth highest number of positive COVID-19 cases per capita in the world over the previous seven days, according to rankings from the US Centers for Disease Control.

The country reported a total of 1,997 cases of infection over the last week, which is smoothed out to a rate of 433.3 per 100,000 of the population.

The tiny Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy (population 10,000) topped the rankings list.

EU member states Czechia and Estonia followed while Hungary and Serbia ranked just below Malta for the rate of new coronavirus cases per 100,000.

The figures are calculated from data submitted to the World Health Organisation and from population estimates taken last July.

According to the rankings, in the last seven days Malta also had the 21st highest number of deaths related to COVID-19, with 3.5 per 100,000 people. In this sector, the country ranked just below the US which registered a 3.7 average.

The highest numbers of COVID deaths over the past seven days were recorded in Czechia (12.9), Slovakia (11.9) and Hungary (9.2).

Highest numbers of COVID deaths in Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary

Malta has experienced a surge in new cases, with a record of 362 one day last week.

As a result the government announced new measures, including shuttering restaurants and placing restrictions on social gatherings.

Catering establishments can only serve take away food and do deliveries, private gatherings are limited to four households, and contact sports for children under 16 are banned. Work from home is encouraged where possible.

Fines have also been stepped up for rule breakers, with a €100 fine announced for any person caught breaching the law and a €6,000 fine for establishments, which was doubled from €3,000.

Meanwhile, Malta ranks fairly high in vaccinations, coming in at 14th globally for the seven-day average of the daily number doses administered, according to ourworldindata.org. This includes both first and second doses per 100 people.

Gibraltar is first in the list, at 2.93, Israel is fifth at 1.04 and Malta comes in at 0.58, with only Wales and San Marino ranking above it in Europe.

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