Making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for travel is an “extreme” measure that discriminates against those who are unable to get vaccinated, the Nationalist Party said on Saturday.

In a statement that slammed the government for its “panicked” response to a rapid rise in virus cases, the PN reiterated three proposals it had made earlier this week and which it said had been ignored by the government.

The PN proposals would require:

  1. Vaccinated travellers to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure;
  2. Unvaccinated travellers to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and also submit themselves to a second PCR test upon arrival in Malta;
  3. Improved logistics to prevent the crowds, disorganisation and “chaos” seen at airports over the past weeks.

Malta will require all travellers to present a recognised form of vaccination certification as of next Wednesday, July 14, following an alarming rise in virus cases over the past days.

The PN said that the sudden spike in cases was all too predictable, given the uncoordinated and haphazard way in which the country had reopened to mass tourism, with long queues at airports and confusion over vaccine certification.  

Health authorities have since increased the number of desks processing passengers at the airport's arrivals hall to 21, from the previous eight. 

“In its panic, the government has now quickly imposed extreme measures that discriminate against people who cannot get vaccinated such as children, pregnant women, vulnerable people, and people who live in countries where the vaccination rate is not high,” it said.

An order to shut down English language schools as of next Wednesday following reports of several clusters of cases among language students was also hasty, the PN said. It argued that language schools be allowed to continue operating, but only to vaccinated students.

Language schools have also criticised the order, saying it was “disproportionate”.

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