Updated 5.50pm with High Commission statement

Maltese in the UK are being urged to return home as soon as possible by the high commission in London.

Times of Malta is informed that Maltese nationals living in the UK are being contacted by the Malta High Commission and told to book the soonest flight back to Malta. 

“I received a call today and was told that air travel will become difficult and that I should get on a flight home, ideally today,” former Times of Malta reporter Philip Leone Ganado said.  

He added that during the phone call, it had been suggested to him that it would not be long before Malta International Airport shut its doors.  

Contacted on Tuesday, a spokesman for the office of the prime minister said that no decision had been taken to shut the Luqa airport at this time. 

A senior government source meanwhile said that that the direction being given to Maltese abroad to return home was largely out of concern that it could become difficult to repatriate them at a later stage.  

A spokesperson for the Malta High Commission in London later denied that it was advising Maltese nationals in the UK that they ran the risk of being stuck in the UK indefinitely.

He said that Maltese nationals seeking assistance are being advised that scheduled Air Malta flights are currently operating "as normal" and that there is no lockdown in either the UK or Malta.

However, he added that it was "bringing to attention the press conference made yesterday wherein it was suggested that Maltese who are abroad and wishing to return to Malta should do so immediately."  

It said the Malta High Commission was being "inundated" with telephone calls and email messages from Maltese seeking assistance. 

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