(CMR) Malta will be the first European country to close its borders to persons who have not been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, following a spike in COVID-19 cases recently.
Only persons with a British or European vaccination certificate will be allowed in from July 14, health minister Chris Fearne said on Friday. This means tourists from the United States and other locations will likely not be allowed to enter since they would not possess this certificate.
“We will be the first EU country to do so, but we need to protect our society,” Fearne said.
Malta has been hailed as a European success story for its vaccination campaign, with 79 percent of the adult population currently fully vaccinated, Aljazeera reported.
However, the country has seen a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. According to Aljazeera, the country moved from reporting no new cases and having just 28 active cases on June 27 to 96 new virus infections on Friday, taking the total number of active cases up to 252.
“From Wednesday, July 14, anyone coming to Malta must be in possession of a recognized vaccination certificate: a Maltese certificate, a British certificate, or a European Union certificate,” Fearne said.
With unvaccinated people accounting for 90 percent of new infections, the only exception will be unvaccinated children aged between 5-12, who will be allowed into Malta if they have a negative test and are accompanied by fully vaccinated parents.
Previously visitors from the rest of the EU, the US, and some other countries were allowed in if they showed a negative PCR coronavirus test or if they were fully vaccinated.