Chris Fearne

The Government expects to unveil its plan for the further easing of COVID measures, “in the coming days”, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne announced on Tuesday.

Speaking during a press conference from Mount Carmel, ahead of the opening of a new ward, Mr Fearne did not provide details on the next phase of reopening, but stated that an announcement would be made soon.

Citing COVID case numbers, which have “remained low”, he said that as things stand, the Government “will be reopening certain sectors as planned on Monday. Then in the coming days [it] will announce more easing of measures”.

While the exact measures have not yet been revealed, Mr Fearne dismissed suggestions that the mandatory mask mandate would be lifted, saying that the health authorities are able to lift restrictions only because other measures, such as mask-wearing, are still in effect.

As things stand, restaurants and cafes, which have been closed since March, are set to be able to reopen on Monday, but will only be able to serve customers till 5pm – a limitation which an industry group has described as not making business sense.

A date has not yet been provided for the reopening of bars and clubs, and the exact conditions with which restaurants and cafes will be able to reopen on Monday has also not yet been announced.

Asked whether, in light of a vaccination programme that continues to push ahead, herd immunity projections have been brought forward, Mr Fearne would not say, but confirmed that over 55 per cent of adults have had both doses of a COVID vaccine and urged everyone eligible to register to receive one.

On Tuesday, the health authorities opened vaccine registration for those in the 30+ cohort.

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