• Mimosa Mermaid

Malta / UK bilateral talks underway for the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine certificate

Hey my lovelies, I hope you are having a great week!


It feels like we are cooking on gas at the moment! For months we have been in a state of #stagnation and now we have waves of #positivity hitting almost daily!


The great news in the UK that we are now inviting the over 45's to step forward for their COVID-19 vaccine, and in #Malta we are witnessing rapidly decreasing new case numbers daily. 🙌🙌


There is however a tinge of incredulity sprinkled into the mix (I'm referring here to Summer of 2021 below)


Today (Tuesday) saw some really big positive strides being made in the right direction with the announcement that bilateral talks are currently underway between Malta and the UK. The topic for #discussion? The creation of a #digital vaccine certificate!





Speaking in #parliament, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo stated #Tuesday that the certificate was already being developed by the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) and would be ready by #June!


This is of course #awesome news for us Brits as we know that this is when Malta plans to reopen the islands to #tourism, and everything crossed, by then we should see the UK Governments Traffic Light System for #international #travel up and running!


Quoting Bartolo, “In discussions we had with the UK government, we are already exchanging information in relation to this digital certificate and the components it should have,”

“If discussions at #EU level are still ongoing by #summer we will be going into bilateral agreements directly with other countries as is already being done with the UK government,” he added.


Bartolo last week confirmed that there is a huge market focus on the UK, with the aim to increase visitor numbers to Malta to aid the COVID-battered tourism industry this summer. Booking #incentives and marketing campaigns specifically targeted to #British tourists have launched..


The vaccine certificate, will be #app based, and is being developed in conjunction with the #health authorities. It will include a standard #QR code ensuring that “security would be reciprocal” between Malta and any other country which could make use of the certificate.


The app will of course be #GDPR compliant and is to be designed in a very similar style to the COVID-19 contact tracing app.





The vaccine certificate will include the dates of both the first and second vaccine doses.


“The dates are especially important because the time-frame of the certificate will be based on the date of the second dose, with holders being cleared ten days after their second dose,” Bartolo stated.


“We also want to be sure that the certificates will be tamper-proof so one can rely on it. We want to give peace of mind to those taking the vaccine as well as other stakeholders,” he added.


There was a notable omission from the announcement however. Would the app be able to cater for those tourists, who for medical reasons, are unable to receive the vaccine, or those who simply choose not to be vaccinated? Instead could a negative COVID-19 PCR test result be incorporated?


I guess at the moment it's a case of watch this space again, but indeed positive #news.


Bartolo was also questioned about the sponsorship of major events planned for this summer as to whether any agreements had already been signed with the organisers.


Just today The Summer of 2021 "4 days 4 nights of sun, fun and frolics" #party #festival has launched, with tickets ranging from £50-£279 already on sale. The event is scheduled to take place between the 3rd and 7th of June! The event promotor CAIF, promises a 4 day vacation filled with "themed parties, pool parties and excursions"



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To this question Bartolo stated there were no "hidden agreements"


A very valid question asked I feel, as in previous years some of the islands larger summer events have been #sponsored by the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) and Air Malta.


“I’d like to clarify that Air Malta doesn’t fall within my ministry’s remit. Additionally, the MTA has agreements that predate 2020, which the government is planning on honouring if and when we get the go-ahead from health authorities,”

“There are no hidden agreements which might somehow manipulate the situation in a way that allows these events to occur" Bartolo said.


I personally feel that if events of this type do get the go ahead its way too soon and they have the potential to undo all of the good which has been done.

It's been a long harsh winter for those in the tourism and hospitality sector, as of yet there still isn't a confirmed date for the reopening of bars and restaurants but when they do open it needs to be for good, the islands tourism can't survive another lost summer.


I also think large events of this type could prove really off-putting and may act as a #deterrent to those travellers who are already wary of travelling to Malta in a slowly waning #pandemic.


Bartolo added " It’s not illegal for these organizers to market their events, but holding these events at this moment is,”


Here's hoping that the MTA stick to being led by #science and the data and not by £$€ eh



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Until next time, take care and stay safe 😘


Tracy


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