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MaltaToday 8 September 2021 MIDWEEK

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2 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 08 SEPTEMBER 2021 2 NEWS COVID-19 41 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Tuesday, figures pub- lished by the health ministry show. Active cases stand at 722, after 29 new recoveries were regis- tered. No deaths were registered on Tuesday. There are currently 29 coronavirus patients being treated at Ma- ter Dei Hospital, of whom two are in the ITU. Till yesterday, 800,572 doses were administered, of which 530 are booster doses. 41 new cases, 29 recoveries registered CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Caruana said that schools managed to remain open dur- ing the pandemic because the island introduced 50 measures in schools. The education minister added that Malta has one of the high- est rates of vaccinated educa- tors and students in Europe. Caruana said that 85% of stu- dents aged 16 and over had re- ceived the COVID-19 vaccine. 73% of 12-15-year-olds have also received the COVID-19 vaccine. She said that the protocols re- flected that the best education is had in the classroom. "This does not exclude educa- tion virtually where necessary." New COVID-19 protocols in schools: • Social distancing will be one and a half meters be- tween the students' desks for year eight and under. For year nine and up, the distance will be one me- ter between desks. • Social bubbles will be kept in place. • Parents are still not al- lowed to enter schools, but that may change in the future. • School assemblies can now be held, but social distancing and the prin- ciple of bubbles must be respected. • Fieldwork, physical educa- tion activities and special activities such as a student birthday celebration will now be able to go ahead. • Canteens may be opened, but food must be pack- aged. • Kindergarten teachers and LSEs are recom- mended to wear both a mask and a visor. • Embellishments in class- rooms such as posters and other learning aids are now allowed. • Vulnerable students and workers can return to school due to the success of the vaccination pro- gramme, with protocols in place. Disability services to resume When asked by MaltaToday about the services for disabled students, Caruana confirmed that all the services will be re- sumed, including the addition of new services that will guar- antee inclusion in schools. PN welcomes 'late' announce- ment of protocols The Nationalist Party re- marked that such minor amendments to the basic pro- tocols for school reopening could have arrive sooner, in order to minimise the uncer- tainty amongst students and parents, and allow enough time for educators to prepare them- selves. It stated that with 80% of the population vaccinated against COVID-19, and with herd im- munity reached weeks ago, it had excepted an earlier con- firmation on whether the stu- dents could attend a more ho- listic education experience. PN added that until this morning, various educators were lamenting about the tardiness of these announce- ments, which left them in lim- bo about this month's scholas- tic year commencement. The Opposition appealed to the authorities to provide all the necessary help and atten- tion to the vulnerable students, and all those that couldn't at- tend school last year. Students must continue to wear face masks even if vaccinated 800,000 doses of the COV- ID-19 vaccine have been ad- ministered, Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Tuesday. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), updated on Monday, Malta has the highest fully vaccinated rate in Europe with 91%, followed by Ireland with 88.2% and Iceland with 86.5%. Meanwhile, in first doses, the island ranked fifth with 90.6%, behind Portugal with 95.6%, France with 91.9%, Ire- land with 91.5% and Iceland with 91.2%. Yesterday, care home res- idents started to receive the COVID-19 booster vaccine. 500 doses are expected to be administered on a daily basis at elderly homes, including St Vincent de Paul. The date for the booster shot within care homes was moved forward after two clusters of COVID-19 infections were recorded recently. The elderly community aged 70 and over will start receiv- ing their third jab in the first week of October. 800,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in Malta Parents are still not allowed to enter schools

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