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24 May, 2021 16:33

Malta declares Covid ‘herd immunity’ success after vaccinating 70% of adults with at least one dose

Malta declares Covid ‘herd immunity’ success after vaccinating 70% of adults with at least one dose

Malta’s Health Minister Chris Fearne has announced that 70% of its adult population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, saying the island nation is the first EU state to achieve herd immunity with vaccinations.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Fearne declared that with vaccines “being administered at a rate of one every five seconds,” the island has fully inoculated 42% of its adult population and administered one dose to more than 70%.

Today we have reached herd immunity. The vaccine is a weapon against the virus.

The densely-populated nation of more than 514,000 has opened up its vaccination program to all people over the age of 16. Once the European Medicines Agency gives the green light for vaccinating younger children, the country’s health officials are set to expand their inoculation drive.

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With the country progressing in its vaccination campaign, restrictions on gyms and swimming pools were lifted on Monday and opening hours for restaurants were extended from 5pm until midnight.

Officials have stated that masks will no longer be required on beaches from June 1, while mask mandates will be lifted for individuals gathering outside from July 1.

Malta is also due to introduce a vaccine certificate in the next few days, with authorities planning to use it from July to allow the country’s cultural and entertainment venues to return to normality.

According to the latest data, there are six Covid-19 patients in Malta’s Mater Dei Hospital, with four of those in the intensive care unit. Since the start of the pandemic, Malta has recorded 30,504 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 417 fatalities. The outbreak in the Mediterranean country appears to have improved amid its vaccine rollout, with fewer than 50 cases reported in each of the past couple of weeks.

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