Malta’s flight ban has been extended until the end of May as the country continues with its efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

In a notice to pilots, known as a NOTAM, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci announced the flight ban first introduced in March would remain in force until at least May 31. 

The ban applies to all incoming and outgoing flights though the exemptions for cargo, ferry, humanitarian and repatriation services remain in place. 

“The Superintendent of Public Health may, in her absolute discretion, issue an exemption from the provisions of this order, by notice in the Gazette, or by other means, where, in the opinion of the said Superintendent of Public Health, the travel of certain persons or goods is deemed to be essential," it says.

“Operators shall obtain prior approval from the Malta Civil Aviation Directorate before any operations,” the notice reads. 

Flights to and from Malta have been suspended since March 21, about a fortnight from when the first case of the novel virus was registered on the island. 

Since then, a number of repatriation flights have operated in order to bring residents back to Malta from countries all over the world. 

As countries grapple with the outbreak, questions on post-coronavirus travel have started being raised as some countries look at ways to ease their lockdown restrictions.

Malta’s health authorities have said some of the restrictions in place could be lifted in the coming days as the number of cases dwindled. 

On Tuesday, Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli suggested creating EU-wide 'safe corridors' for tourism between countries which have successfully contained the COVID-19 pandemic. 

She made the suggestion during a videoconference of EU tourism ministers, saying territories and regions which, like Malta, received praise for their successful management of the pandemic, should be able to benefit.

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