Over 400 students repatriated after testing positive for Covid or being in contact with infected persons

The Minister for Tourism, Clayton Bartolo, has confirmed to Television Malta that over 400 students who were in Malta have been sent back to their home countries. He explained that so far there have been two chartered flights, one for students confirmed Covid positive and the other for students who came into contact with persons with Covid.

The Minister explained that for the rest of summer the number of arrivals is encouraging in the circumstances and that visiting tourists are expected to be adults and those elderly.

He indicated that more students are expected to be made to return home and the final figure will be known when all the repatriation flights have been completed. The Minister said the decision to resort to these repatriation flights was taken after discussion between the Ministry and the Tourism Authority as well as discussions with the Italian, Spanish, German and French embassies.

Students testing negative had been returned by normal chartered flights that covered several destinations in order to reduce costs. Those that were positive or had been in contact with positives took different flights to different countries to avoid complications.

Asked about who was footing the expenses for these flights, the Minister said discussions are ongoing but Malta will maintain its reputable stance by doing what is right.

Regarding indications for tourist arrivals during the rest of summer, Minister Bartolo said it is expected all arrivals will have received vaccinations and less youths are expected and that all safeguards are being taken to safeguard the community as well as tourist themselves.

This will mean less youthful arrivals as throughout Europe many youths have not been vaccinated and they do not have a vaccine roll out as Malta has. He said the outlook is encouraging.

He said from discussions held with sector partners it seems Malta is experiencing the same challenges present in other European countries.