Slowly but surely, member states of the EU have opened their doors to more and more countries, allowing travelers to visit once more for vacation purposes and kickstarting tourism across the continent after more than a year of closed borders and heavy restrictions.
However, the threat of the Delta variant of Covid-19 looms heavy on the minds of European politicians. As a result, Malta has changed their entry requirements to allow only fully-vaccinated travelers entry into the country, and there could be more European nations set to follow suit. Here’s everything you need to know about this story.
The Delta Variant – Information For Travelers
Ever since Covid-19 first entered the public eye, the threat of variants has followed closely wherever it has gone. From the UK variant to the Indian variants, each new mutation is labeled by the media as being more transmissible than the original virus, leading governments to take drastic actions in a bid to stop it spreading between their borders – such as banning flights from variant-laden countries such as Brazil and India.
The Delta variant is the latest mutated strain to worry governments around the world, and with good reason, as it is said to be 55% more transmissible than the original alpha variant. Having already spread to at least 98 different countries, there’s now a concerted effort by European politicians to stop it from gaining a foothold in the EU bloc, with leaders such as Angela Merkel advocating for stricter restrictions on travelers coming from areas where the variant is prevalent, such as the UK. The island of Malta is one such country that has implemented new restrictions with the Delta variant in mind.
Malta’s New Travel Restrictions – Information For Travelers
A sunny archipelago in the Mediterranean situated between the coasts of Sicily and Northern Africa, Malta is a popular destination for travelers coming from EU countries and from the UK due to its historic sites, imposing fortresses and gorgeous beaches. However, recent updates to their entry requirements could either see their popularity wane or increase, depending on how they are viewed by travelers this summer.
Where once travelers needed just a negative PCR test in order to enter Malta, the country has moved the goalposts and now requires all incoming travelers above the age of 12 to have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to enter. Coming into effect from Wednesday 14th July, the move has been harshly criticized by travelers and labeled as a ban on children, with vaccines for those between the ages of 12 to 18 hard to come by for many.
Having reduced the daily number of cases to single digits last month, Malta has a seen a relative spike in new Covid-19 cases as of late, with yesterday seeing more than 100 new cases reported for the first time since March. However, the vaccination statistics of the country paint a far more positive picture, with 69% of the population fully vaccinated.
The health minister for Malta, Chris Fearne, branded the decision as a “selling point” for travelers who wanted to feel safe, but it remains to be seen whether travelers will be attracted to the island from a safety perspective, or put off due to the restrictive effect it could have on families traveling for a vacation. Should this type of decision spread to other European countries, it would be a hammer blow to hopes of restarting tourism on the continent, and to those dreaming of traveling once more this summer.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories