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MaltaToday 29 September 2021 MIDWEEK

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2 NEWS maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 29 SEPTEMBER 2021 2 NEWS COVID-19 LAURA CALLEJA BARS and restaurants can choose to restrict entrance to those with a COVID-19 vaccine certificate from October 9 and will then be able to relax mit- igation measures within their establishment, health minister Chris Fearne announced yester- day. He was speaking during the inauguration of a healthcare centre in Valletta. The Health Minister also said that due to the successful vaccination pro- gramme in the country, more measures could be relaxed in the entertainment sector, specifical- ly bars and restaurants. The benefits are as follows: • The distance between ta- bles can be reduced to 1.5m • Maximum of eight people at a table • Bars and restaurants will be able to close at 3am (if applicable) • Those that play music can raise the sound limit to 80 decibels • Limited bar service can re- sume for establishments, as long as perspex is in- stalled between the bar tender and the public • Children under the age of 12, who are not vaccinated since the use of the COV- ID vaccine has not been authorised, are exempted from having to show a vac- cine certificate. Fearne said that those who do not want to limit entrance to only vaccinated clientele must continue to open in line with ex- isting health protocols. He said random inspections will be carried out to ensure that only certified customers are al- lowed into restricted establish- ments. Fearne also announced that from 1 October, the health au- thorities will be accepting the vaccine certificate from people who have recovered from COV- ID-19 and had received one dose. This had been an issue for some people from countries like Italy where people who contracted COVID were only administered one vaccine dose. He also announced that the health authorities are now ac- cepting the vaccine certificate from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Rwanda. Turning to schools, Fearne said that science has shown that wearing masks keeps COVID-19 down. However, he said the health authorities were monitoring the situation and that they did ex- pect a slight rise in cases due to schools reopening. Fearne also said Malta had not registered any cases of the MU variant and that cases in the hos- pital were stable and slowly go- ing down. The Health Minister also said that people over 70 started re- ceiving the vaccine booster as of yesterday. He urged people to be patient and if they had not received their invitation yet, they would in the coming days. Restaurants with a vaccinated-only policy for clients will benefit from fewer restrictions Bars, restaurants that only allow entry to fully vaccinated will enjoy less restrictions 16 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Tuesday, figures published by the Health Ministry show. No new deaths were registered in the last 24-hours, with the total number of deaths standing at 457. Active cases stand at 370 after 37 recoveries were registered. There are currently 13 coronavirus patients being cared for at Mater Dei Hospital, of whom three are in ITU. Until yesterday, 818,593 vaccine doses were ad- ministered, of which 8,171 were booster doses. 16 new cases registered, hospitalisations drop to 13

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