Activity in Malta is recovering ahead of Europe. How?
According to information compiled daily by Google regarding the physical movement of those who use its products, activity is recovering much faster in Malta than in the rest of Europe.
While at the beginning of the year movement towards shops and places of entertainment was 47% lower than it had been before the pandemic, in the first week of February it was 3% more than it was before the start of the outbreak.
This means a change in the pace of activity of 50% in just one month.
An important element behind this change was the success of the Government’s strategy to control the pandemic. The restrictions introduced, as well as the success of the vaccination programme, have led to Malta now having the lowest incidence of COVID-19 in Europe.
This while across several areas in Europe the population continues to suffer from unprecedented infection rates.
Across the rest of Europe, families are not staying at home simply because they are afraid of COVID-19, but because they are suffering from the effects of very high fuel and electricity prices.
This is causing private consumption activity to remain very weak. So much so that in some European countries trade activity is between a quarter and a third lower than it was before the pandemic.
The worst result is being achieved in Lithuania where footfall to shops, restaurants and entertainment venues is 30% below its pre-pandemic average. The incidence of the virus in this country is currently 11 times higher than in Malta, while inflation is three and a half times that in our country.
Apart from Malta it is only in Hungary where at the beginning of February the movement of people to shops and recreation venues, including restaurants, had returned to levels higher than before the pandemic.
It should be noted that a year ago at the same time of the year, Google mobility data had shown almost a quarter less movement than it is doing this year. The movement observed in the first week of February was like that observed last year in the first week of June.