The first 16 countries that Malta is expected to open its borders to as of July 1 can be revealed by Times of Malta.

This list, yet to be officially confirmed, is of countries which the Malta Tourism Authority has deemed to be 'safe' in terms of COVID-19 transmission. 

It does not include the UK and mainland Italy, the country's two most important tourism markets, which have been the worst-hit countries by coronavirus in Europe.

Malta's airport was closed in March, as coronavirus cases steadily increased.

Times of Malta understands the first list of MTA-approved 'safe' countries includes:

  • Iceland
  • Slovakia
  • Cyprus
  • Lithuania
  • Israel
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Estonia
  • Denmark
  • Hungary
  • Austria
  • Luxembourg
  • Germany
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • Ireland

Sardinia and Sicily are also being considered while the authorities might introduce flights to Portugal and Poland at a later stage, sources added.

Later on Monday, Prime Minister Robert Abela confirmed the list also included Latvia.  

On Sunday, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia said there would be 19 countries in all but did not name the destinations.

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced on Sunday night on Labour media that the airport should reopen on July 1. 

In an interview with Times of Malta last month, Malta International Airport CEO Alan Borg said staff were planning to introduce social distancing measures, better hygiene and more sophisticated temperature checks when it opens. 

Malta International Airport has been shut since March 21 to curb the spread of COVID-19, and Air Malta has been operating repatriation and cargo flights only since then.

Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli has reiterated that Malta "will have a summer season" that is safer than usual. The government was discussing protocols for airports and travelling with its international peers, she said on Thursday.

Among other precautions, Air Malta has already warned that anyone flying on its aircraft as from Monday will have to wear a mask.

On Sunday Prime Minister Robert Abela said Malta will open its ports on July 1 and Virtu Ferries also announced on Facebook that it will be welcoming passengers and vehicles on board its ferry on the same date.

Airports in high risk areas

Airports in the UK, Italy, Portugal and Poland have made it to a list of airports located in areas with high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Compiled by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and based on information from the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the list also includes airports in Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

More information in the PDF attached below.

According to WHO data, the UK registered 1,604 new cases and France 1,779 new infections on Sunday. On the day, Italy saw its death toll increase by 111 to a total of 33,340 deaths.

As of Sunday, Germany has the fourth highest number of confirmed cases in Europe (181,482) but registered only 286 new cases and 11 new deaths on the day.

Israel registered 203 new cases and three new deaths on Sunday, bringing up its total of cases to 17,012 and 284 deaths. 

Austria, Czech Republic, Norway, Luxembourg, Estonia, Iceland, Slovakia, Cyprus and Switzerland saw no deaths related to COVID-19 on Sunday.

Cyprus is one of the countries with the lowest number of confirmed cases in Europe: a total of 943 infections and 17 deaths, and so is Lithuania, with a total of 1,670 COVID-19 cases and 70 deaths. 

Ireland so far has 24,929 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,651 deaths. On Sunday it registered 53 new infections and six deaths.

The 'new way' of travelling*

  • Book your ticket online to reduce gatherings such as at ticket machines
  • Check-in in advance and electronically
  • Wear a facemask at the station, port or airport
  • During the journey you might be separated from other passengers especially if you are travelling alone
  • You may not be able to buy food and beverages on board to avoid contact as much as possible
  • At the hotel keep a distance of two metres in communal areas 
  • Follow respiratory etiquette such as coughing or sneezing into a paper tissue or your elbow

*based on European Commission guidelines

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