Ryanair flights between Malta and Bergamo are to be temporarily halted as authorities work to contain the possible spread of the coronavirus.  

Sources told Times of Malta that a decision to stop the flights had been taken on Monday morning and Prime Minister Robert Abela is understood to have personally communicated the decision to executives at the low-cost carrier.  

Ryanair operates six flights a week to and from the north Italian city, which is among several which is under quarantine. 

A flight was due to leave Bergamo for Malta at 1pm on Monday. That flight had been cancelled.

Passengers who were due to board that flight will now have to comply with instructions by Italian health authorities.    

Italy quarantined the entire Lombardy region as well as 12 other provinces on Sunday in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. But despite the quarantine order, flights to and from airports in affected regions continue to operate.

The World Health Organisation has not recommended introducing travel bans to or from the area. 

However, on Sunday Air Malta decided to halt its flight to Linate airport in Milan, saying the flight would not operate "until further notice" as a precautionary measure. 

Doctors have said that Malta should halt all travel from northern Italy as a precautionary measure and urged the government to require any passengers who arrived from affected areas in the past 14 days to undergo mandatory quarantine. 

Times of Malta has contacted the Health Ministry and Ryanair for comment. 

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