Malta's COVID-19 rates are the fifth-highest in the EU, official figures from last week's data show. 

Only Cyprus, Portugal and Spain and the Netherlands have a higher case rate compared to Malta's 379 new cases per 100,000 people.

But the country is now only the only one in the EU to have a death rate of zero, a situation health authorities attribute to the high vaccination rate.

It has consistently registered the lowest death rate for three weeks.

The details emerged from fresh weekly data issued by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The overview provides an insight into the situation across Europe, with rates worked out from the prior weeks’ figures. Thursday's numbers reflect the situation between July 12 and July 18.

According to the data,  Malta's case rate doubled in a week from 122.04 cases per 100,000 people. 

A surge in infections among young unvaccinated people is partly responsible for the soaring cases. One in four people with the virus are now students who came to Malta to study English.

The figures are a stark contrast from those from exactly two months when Malta had the lowest COVID-19 infection and death rates in Europe, after the number of new cases had dropped significantly for a number of weeks.

Meanwhile, the ECDC also confirmed Malta's position on its travel red list for the second week

A country is classified as red if the notification rate falls between 75 and 200 and the positivity rate is higher than four. Malta's positivity rate is currently 7.6, the ECDC data showed.

When discussing the COVID-19 situation, the health authorities have repeatedly pointed to the death rate as being the most important. 

They also insist that despite the increase in infections, few patients have had to be treated in hospital and none have died. The ITU is almost empty of COVID patients, with only one person currently cared for there.

According to public health chief Charmaine Gauci, this patient is in a stable condition.

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