Travel restrictions imposed by Malta on arrivals originating from China have effectively been removed on 27th February 2023 (today).
The COVID-19 travel restrictions were introduced on 9th January 2023 as a reaction to China’s decision to relax its ‘zero-COVID’ policy, which led to an alarming spike of new COVID-19 cases in the country, and a burst of travellers from China due to years of pent-up demand.
At first, Malta was unlikely to take any restrictive measures since there were no direct flights between the two countries, however, it changed its tune following a crisis meeting by European Union (EU) experts.
Through a legal notice, the Superintendent of Public Health, Charmaine Gauci, introduced special travel requirements which demanded all visitors originating from China aged twelve or older to have a negative COVID-19 rapid antigen test result, taken within 48 hours of arrival to Malta.
Italy was the first country in the EU to introduce restrictions on travellers from China on 28th December 2022, two days after one of its airports in Milan, Malpensa, started testing passengers arriving from Beijing and Shanghai. The airport found that half of the travellers arriving from China tested positive for COVID-19, according to Reuters.
After monitoring the situation, EU countries agreed to phase out testing requirements for travellers from China by the end of February, and random testing by the middle of March.
Fortunately, Malta did not witness any noticeable spike in COVID-19 cases originating from China, which may in part be attributed to limited flows of people between the countries, and since any arrival to Malta most likely had to pass through a country with its own travel restrictions for passengers from China.
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