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MaltaToday 23 March 2022 Special Edition

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16 NEWS COVID-19 maltatoday | WEDNESDAY • 23 MARCH 2022 LAURA CALLEJA THE Malta Hotels and Restaurants Asso- ciation (MHRA) has supported the call by travel and tourism stakeholders to end all remaining travel restrictions. The MHRA said that while it recog- nised efforts by the national authorities in managing the spread of the pandemic, the reduction of COVID-19 protocols to date did not go far enough. "The patchwork of restrictions do nothing to prevent the spread of COVID but rather unnecessarily complicate the running of operations, leading to delays at the airport and business inefficien- cies," MHRA president Tony Zahra said. "Over the past few weeks, we have seen economies reopening. It is time to re- move ineffective restrictions and allow people to travel freely." Zahra said that international travellers are looking for safe destinations that of- fer the path of least resistance. "Right now, despite that we are a safe destina- tion with all the vaccinations carried out, we are still considered a path of resist- ance for many travellers." The MHRA said the situation was continuing to impact the recovery neg- atively, despite prospects for a pick-up in tourism for the coming season being highly positive. "The war in Ukraine has created a sit- uation where countries such as Cyprus and Turkey, which depended heavily on Russian and Ukrainian tourists, will con- centrate their efforts on marketing their products in other source countries, most of which are our markets. We, therefore, expect serious competition in these mar- kets and need to be able to compete on a level playing field, making it imperative that such restrictions are removed im- mediately," Zahra said. Hoteliers back calls to remove remaining travel restrictions 333 new cases registered 333 new COVID-19 cases were registered on Tuesday, figures pub- lished by the Health Ministry show. No deaths occurred in the last 24-hours, with the total number of deaths standing at 624. Active cases stand at 2,723 after 149 recoveries were registered. There are currently 41 corona- virus patients being cared for at Mater Dei Hospital, of which one is in the ITU. Until yesterday, 1,253,224 vac- cine doses were administered, of which 348,666 were booster dos- es. International travellers are looking for safe destinations that offer the path of least resistance

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