Watch: Travel between Malta and Gozo only to be allowed for essential trips

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Travel between the two islands will only be allowed in case of work, visiting of family members, returning to one’s residence, visiting patients who are receiving treatment at a hospital, and attending medical appointments in Malta. Merchant shipping between the two islands will still be allowed.

The new restrictions were announced on Tuesday afternoon by the Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri who stressed that this is not the time to go for a weekend break to either Malta nor Gozo or go on a trip to the other island. He urged people to remain home.

In a short video message, Minister Camilleri said that while some measures have already been in place such as thermal screening at Mġarr and Ċirkewwa, from Friday passengers crossing between the two islands will be asked the reason behind their trip to the other island.

Camilleri underlined that this is an unprecedented situation and that everyone is called upon to abide by the health authorities’ instructions in order to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

He referred to the various measures adopted by the government including the ban on gathering in public spaces of more than three people. While the majority of the people were abiding by the instructions, a small minority are insisting on disregarding the instructions, he said.

The new measures will come into force after lengthy discussions with the various stakeholders, Minister Camilleri explained.

On Tuesday, 13 coronavirus cases were confirmed overnight. There are now a total of 169 cases.

A number of measures have already been taken due to the coronavirus outbreak. If a person were to test positive for coronavirus in Gozo, the patient is brought to Malta on a chartered ferry trip. Last Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne briefed the press on Gozo’s preparedness for coronavirus.

Minister Camilleri has repeatedly called on the public to avoid unnecessary trips to Gozo while Opposition Spokesperson for Gozo Chris Said has called for travel restrictions between Malta and Gozo.

Partit Nazzjonalista welcomes move

In a statement, Partit Nazzjonalista has welcomed the new ban on non-essential travel between the two islands.

In a statement signed by the Opposition spokesperson for Gozo Chris Said, Partit Nazzjonalista noted that the government took note of the Opposition’s feedback as well as that of others to safeguard the public’s health. The Opposition said that the move was a step in the right direction.

If you want to be the first to receive the latest news on the coronavirus in Malta, download the Newsbook APP here.