Malta to roll back vaccine certificate requirements from February

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Man looks at shirts at an open-air market as restaurants and markets reopened for business after coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations reached 60% of the adult population, in Valletta, Malta May 10, 2021. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

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VALLETTA, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Malta will start to scrap a requirement for people to present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate for entry to restaurants and other venues from next month, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Tuesday.

"With 75% of the population now having received the booster jab, we are in a position to start lifting the vaccine certificate rules," Fearne told parliament.

He said the certificates would not be needed for entry to restaurants, snack bars and social clubs from Feb. 7. Access to bars, gyms, spas, pools, cinemas and theatres will be granted without certificates from Feb. 14.

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The certificates will still be obligatory for entry to mass events, sports events, gaming halls, night clubs and flights.

The certificate entry requirement was introduced in mid-January and led to street protests in the capital Valletta.

Fearne said that with cases going down and the situation in hospitals under control, Malta would soon reach a point when mandatory quarantine for people who come into contact with COVID-19 patients could be reduced from the current seven days to five.

He added that such quarantines could even be eliminated completely from as early as mid-February, depending on positivity rates.

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Reporting by Chris Scicluna; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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