Another extension to Malta’s bans on departures and arrivals of flights will see the airport remain closed until at least 15th June, it has now been confirmed.
In a notice to airmen (NOTAM) published earlier today, the 21st March flight ban which has seen regular extensions has once again been extended, this time until mid-June. This, of course, excludes cargo flights, ferry flights, humanitarian flights, repatriation flights, and any other “tavel of certain persons or goods is deemed to be essential” by the Superintendent for Public Health.
Before this ban extension, the latest update was a month-long extension that came on 30th April and would’ve expired today week.
The news comes barely 24 hours after it was announced that Cyprus will reopen its borders on 9th June, allowing travel to and from 20 countries… including Malta. In the first phase, inbound passengers will have to be tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arrival and prove they test negative with a certificate. From 20th June, those arriving from 13 countries listed in Category A, which includes Malta, Germany and Greece, will not need to present a health certificate, as long as they are not infected with COVID-19.
The issue of whether Malta’s airport should cautiously reopen or remain closed has been a hot topic in recent weeks, and it’s only gotten more intense in the last days with the reopening of bars, restaurants, hair salons, nail parlours, and many other non-essential businesses.
Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli has remained adamant in her wish to eventually establish “travel corridors” with nine countries that have been deemed to be safe amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic still ravaging the world.
Meanwhile, representatives of healthcare workers and the nurses’ union alike have warned of the great potential risk any form of tourism this summer could have on the islands.
The Medical Association of Malta has echoed this sentiment, saying easing restrictions too quickly could not only reverse Malta’s months-long effort and progress, but also render the notion of safe corridors completely null.
Malta’s active cases of COVID-19 has been on the rise for the last 13 straight days, going from 58 on Sunday 10th May to 130 earlier today.
This number is the highest it’s been in over 25 days. Yesterday, everything from hair salons to restaurants reopened their doors.