Prime Minister Robert Abela is addressing a press conference in Auberge de Castille.
The press conference is expected to be about new measures to control the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also said that it is not a question of not travelling, but rather is a question of being smart about it. There must be a coordinated system of rapid testing to allow tourism across Europe.
The PM, in response to Newsbook.com.mt's question on vacations, stated that the EU summit was no vacation, but that the necessity of physically attending the council was questioned. There were varying opinions on online councils being held, and it was agreed that certain debates are to be held online. However others such as yesterday's and today's require physicality in the PM's opinion, since they are heated debates.
The PM expressed his condolences to all the victims of Covid-19, saying that unfortunately it is a part of undergoing a pandemic. He stated that the economy must not be paralysed.
Malta is to be amongst the first in the world to receive the vaccine. Until the vaccine arrives, in 5-6 months, let's remain vigilant.
Fearne states that the Govt. does not expect the public to live in this new normal for some ten years – the vaccine is upcoming, and the public must be patient
On contact tracing: the increase in cases has led to arrangements for further resources. This includes a relocation to a new premises to increase the human resources involved.
Rapid testing happens there and then.
In both primary and secondary schools masks must be worn at all times. In kindergarten, masks are not obligatory, since they shouldn't be worn by ages 3 and under.
Journalists' questions commence.
Masks are obligatory from primary school upwards.
Masks can be temporarily removed for identification purposes. Masks can also not be worn in the case of lip reading being necessary, in case of public speaking for clarity, and when eating at a table.
Mask wearing is not obligatory when exercising, such as jogging or cycling. But the mask must be carried along to be worn once exercise is concluded.
Professor Charmaine Gauci states that children younger than 3 years are exempted from wearing a face mask everywhere. Other conditions such as health or behavioral are part of this exemption.
MTA: enforcing entertainment establishments' adherence to measures
Police: enforcing any public measures, particularly in relation to groups
Public Health Directorate: enforcing quarantine, helping out police
LESA: Totally focused on Covid-related measures – masks, inspections on all public transport
Enforcement is being led by 4 main authorities: the Police, the Malta Tourism Authority, the Local Enforcement System Agency and the Public Health Directorate.
75,000 of the 100,000 influenza vaccines meant for the upcoming weeks have already been used. An order for a further 100,000 has been moved up, and an order for a further 50,000 has been placed.
Rapid testing will be used at the airport, in schools, in emergency settings, and in homes for the elderly.
As of 28th October, rapid testing is to be introduced.
However, masks must now also be worn in the streets and in any public outdoor space. Anyone who does not adhere to this risks getting fined. Authorities are allowing a week for adjustment to this regulation prior to handing out fines.
There are a number of exceptions, such as being alone in a private vehicle, within your own home, and being alone in an office at work.
Up till so far, masks have been obligatory in public transport, in spaces for public services such as shops. As of tomorrow, the use of masks must be used everywhere.
Entertainment and catering establishments will all be closing at 11pm, as of next Monday. This includes bars and band clubs.
He states that this can be combatted with education, and with enforcement of the measures.
Fearne reminds that the previous measures put in place are still applicable. He states that a phenomenon called "Covid fatigue" is becoming widespread as the pandemic stretches on.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne steps in.
Bars and local band clubs will close at 11pm.
The PM states that the obligatory use of mask is to be further widespread, and also will be increasing the power of authorities by introducing fines.
Effective, crucial but sustainable measures are to be announced today.
There is no magic balance between the measures that aid health and the same measures' effects on normal life.
He appeals for responsibility, and for respect towards others.
Next Monday is to bring about new economic measures to help safeguard jobs.
The press conference is to treat the pandemic in Malta and measures that balance health and economy.
The third discussion was about the pandemic and the rising amount of cases across Europe.
Abela states that the issue of illegal immigration from Africa was also discussed, and that Africa should be considered as a continent that holds opportunities, and not only as a problem.
He explains that Brexit was discussed and that our country has a plan both in the event that an agreement is reached, and also in the event that it isn't.
PM Robert Abela explains that he just arrived from the EU Summit in Brussels, where many discussions were held.
Welcome to the live blog! Newsbook.com.mt will be updating this as the press conference progresses.