Malta makes face masks mandatory in public, prohibits large gatherings
Malta’s government officials announced that face masks are now mandatory in public, and all large gatherings are banned, effective midnight Friday. New restrictive measures were prompted by a spike in the number of new COVID-19 infection cases, after they have been reduced to zero for a week in July.
Health authorities reported 49 new infections on Friday, the second highest daily number since the first case was detected in early March. Nine patients have died.
The decision to reimpose controls represents a sharp turnaround for Malta, which depends on tourism for a third of its GDP.
The Mediterranean country has conducted the third-highest level of testing in the EU and had lifted restrictions and re-opened some overseas travel last month as case numbers fell. It now joins a growing list of countries forced to reimpose controls after early successes in controlling the disease.