All magistrates and judges have been instructed to defer any non-urgent court cases until after April 11, amid soaring COVID-19 cases.

In his directive, Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti said the court must help stop the spread and protect not only court workers but also those who must attend court.

The Chamber of Advocates said it has taken note of the instruction and urged its members to cooperate with it and request deferrals of any non-urgent sittings. 

The courts will, however, remain open. 

Members of the public, court workers and lawyers have repeatedly expressed their concern about the potential spread of coronavirus from within the halls of court. Though measures have been taken to contain the spread, many have complained about crowded halls and corridors with no ventilation. 

On Thursday, the government instructed all restaurants to shut down until April 11 and introduced a number of measures to try to contain the record number of COVID-19 cases.

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