Malta is now requiring proof of vaccination from visitors in hopes of stemming the latest rise in coronavirus infections.
Starting on Wednesday, visitors to the Mediterranean island nation must present a Covid-19 vaccination certificate recognised by Maltese health authorities, meaning certificates issued by Malta, the European Union or the United Kingdom.
The EU’s green passport certifies people who are vaccinated, have a negative PCR test result or have recovered from Covid-19, but Malta has decided to only recognise those who are fully vaccinated.
“Malta will be the first EU country taking this step,” said health minister Chris Fearne.
Children aged five to 12 only need to present a negative PCR test, while those under five are exempt.
Malta, which has a population of just over half a million, had 46 active cases on July 1 but the number rose to 252 on Friday.
The country has reported nearly 31,000 cases and 420 deaths in the pandemic.
The government says 90% of new cases are among unvaccinated people. Currently 79% of Maltese adults are fully vaccinated.
Mr Fearne said most of the new cases were linked to travel.
Several positive cases were also identified in English-language teaching schools, so the government ordered the closure of the schools from Wednesday.