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Malta’s Federated Association of Travel and Tourism Agents (FATTA) has welcomed the Government’s lifting of some COVID rules, while calling for a further relaxation.

The organisation issued the statement responding after Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne last week announced the reducing of quarantine for primary contacts and committed to eliminating quarantine for vaccinated primary contacts.

These measures were announced last week and are expected to come into effect from 7th March, provided virus numbers remain under control.

FATTA also welcomed the plan to eliminate the mandatory use of masks in public outdoor spaces as of 14th March.

However, in the context of this relaxation, FATTA urged the authorities to “harmonise and realign” the mandatory standards applicable to travel and tourism services accordingly.

Specifically, it called for the restriction limiting the number of persons in public spaces to no more than six, to be “removed quickly or at least relaxed considerably.”

Similarly, the limited capacity restrictions on tourist coaches, minibuses, ferry services and commercial passenger vessels (currently 80 per cent) should be removed and operators permitted to carry their respective full capacity as licensed, according to the association.

FATTA also urged Malta’s health authorities to “carefully and regularly” review the list of countries subject to an “effective travel ban” (dark red list), referring to the requirement for arrivals from countries on the list to isolate at their own expense at designated quarantine hotels.

Additionally, it asked them to further facilitate authorisation to travel to such destinations for fully vaccinated holders of a valid vaccination certificate issued by the Maltese Authorities and to apply the same reduced quarantine measures upon their return as those applicable for primary contacts.

FATTA’s call comes as countries across the world are lifting more and more COVID restrictions, as the virus appears to be rescinding across many parts of the world.

Malta’s tight restrictions for travellers with vaccine certificates issued by the local authorities, imposing a three month expiry date for those who haven’t yet received a booster dose has been a particular point of contention, and stakeholders in the European aviation sector have called for action against the country.

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