WATCH: In detail – the new measures to control the pandemic

Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that with effect from tomorrow and until 11 April, a number of measures will come into effect to control the spread of Covid-19.

Among other measures, the Prime Minister announced that restaurants, kiosks and snack bars will be allowed to remain open to offer take-away service only.

Dr Abela added that restaurants in hotels and guest houses can remain open only for their residents.

The Prime Minister added that the protocols have to be followed rigorously.

Night clubs, bars and clubs will remain closed.

Dr Abela announced that the fine in the event of contravention of these rules will be doubled, from 3,000 euro to 6,000 euro.

The Prime Minister added that activities for the masses will remain prohibited, except for weddings and religious activities.

Activities planned in private households cannot have guests from not more than four households. In the event of a contravention, the fine will be 100 euro for each person.

Where an event for the masses is organised for profit, an operator who contravenes the rules will be subject to a 6,000 euro fine,

The Prime Minister also announced that fines will also be doubled, from 3,000 euro to 6,000 euro, in the case of contravention of measures regulating the closure of establishments and places of entertainment and boat parties.

Dr Abela further added that rules which impose that licenced places of accommodation cannot accept more persons than the licenced number of beds will again come into effect.

Dr Abela stated that on the basis of scientific facts presented by the health authorities, a prohibition is being introduced on contact sport by youths under the age of 16 years.

In the case of persons aged 16 and over, contact sport may be practised only through the observance of already existing protocols.

The Prime Minister stated that enforcement will continue to provide more resources, and the authorities will continue to boost it with more resources.

“I will be insisting with the Police authorities, the MTA and the Directorate for Environmental Health for their presence and action to be intensified, thus ensuring that the few remaining irresponsible persons will pay for their actions.”

Dr Abela added that Monday will see the coming into effect of the directive by the Principal Permanent Secretary so that, in instances where the work situation permits, Government and public entities employees will work through Telework whilst ensuring all arrangements will be made for public services to continue to be provided.

At the same time, Dr Abela urged the private sector to follow, where possible, the government’s example and provide opportunities for employees to work through Telework.

The Prime Minister declared that these measures will remain in force for some weeks, during which the vaccination programme will continue at the strong pace it has already picked up. Dr Abela added that as has already been the case in the category of persons who have been vaccinated with great efficiency, this will now start to lead to a significant drop in positive cases around the country.

“This is the vaccine which the country has managed to acquire for the whole population, and on a per capita basis we have the highest amount of vaccines within the EU, as well as the highest vaccination rate within the EU,” Dr Abela added.

The Prime Minister stated that this did not come about by chance, but rather, through the Government’s non-stop efforts to safeguard the people’s health.

Dr Abela said that because of these positive results, the authorities have given measured advice so that balanced decisions will be taken over a period of some weeks to continue to safeguard the lives and living levels of Maltese and Gozitan families.

The Prime Minister said the Government would not be forgetting businesses and for this reason, it will continue to provide assistance through Government investing as necessary.

Dr Abela also announced that the Government will be extending the wage supplement up to June, and will be helping restaurants to go online.

The Prime Minister further announced that restaurants, snack bars and kiosks will again be placed on the full wage supplement.

Dr Abela added that as a result of the wage supplement and quarantine leave, the Government has handed out more than 360 million euro and will continue to provide support until at least this coming June.