Malta sees no new COVID cases for first time in 11 months

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FILE PHOTO: People sit at an outdoor restaurant as restaurants and markets reopened for business after coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccinations reached 60% of the adult population, in Valletta, Malta May 10, 2021.

VALLETTA (Reuters) - Malta registered no new COVID-19 cases for the first time in 11 months on Monday, but the Mediterranean island's health minister urged people to remain careful to prevent any resurgence.

"Today is the first day with zero cases since last summer," minister Chris Fearne wrote on Twitter. "It is essential that we maintain discipline and responsibility."

The news came as Malta allowed bars, cinemas and theatres to reopen as part of a government timetable to progressively roll back restrictions that was announced months ago.

Malta last registered zero cases on July 25, but cases then gradually rose, to spike at 510 in March before dropping again. They have been in single figures for weeks.

The island leads the European Union in the vaccination programme, with more than half the adult population now fully vaccinated and 75% having had at least a first dose.

(Reporting by Chris Scicluna; Editing by Crispian Balmer, William Maclean)

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