A 10% increase of infections on the Rock since last week, 14 ERS residents test positive, new systems at airport & frontier to be implemented, masks to become mandatory in certain public outdoor spaces on the Rock, vaccine news and trick-or-treating cancelled… here’s what you need to know from today’s Gibraltar Covid-19 press conference.
The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, today (27.10.2020) held another Covid-19 press conference in light of a 10% increase in the number of detected Covid-19 cases as well as cases being detected at ERS on the Rock since last week’s press conference.
This 10% increase has also been seen globally within the past 7 days.
As of today, Gibraltar has carried out 63,113 tests for Covid-19 (twice the population of Gibraltar), with 114 current confirmed Covid19 cases (all residents), with 15 persons recovering overnight; bringing the total number of cases detected in Gibraltar to 679.
8 cases are in the Covid-19 ward, 1 in the CCU and 14 cases have been detected at Elderly Residential Services (ERS).
These 14 patients have been detected as positive for Covid-19 in the McIntosh Wing on the 3rd floor (13 female and one male). The age range is 64 – 101 and 9 of these patients suffer from dementia.
The Chief Minister stated that all residents are clinically stable and without fever, and 5 of them have an oxygen requirement of 2 litres.
“They all continue to eat and drink and have not developed a delirium.”
There are a further 7 residents at Mount Alvernia in isolation; 1 at Mount Alvernia; 3 at Bella Vista and 3 at Trafalgar House.
In total in the ERS, GHA run facilities there are 2 positive staff members and another 19 members of staff are self-isolating.
In view of rising numbers at ERS and Gibraltar as a whole, as from Wednesday 28th – all day centre activities at Bella Vista will be temporarily discontinued: “this is in order to mitigate the risk of an outbreak of Covid19 among day centre users who come from different family bubbles and where social distancing is difficult to maintain”.
The Chief Minister assured that “these measures will be under constant review”.
New Systems to be Implemented at Airport and Frontier
The Chief Minister said that Gibraltar must ensure that the current travel corridor that the Rock maintains with the UK and passage across the frontier is not restricted “by any suggestion that Gibraltar is in any way failing to address the increase in numbers of persons infected in Gibraltar.”
Thus, “in the coming days and weeks”, the following system will be introduced:
- Random testing of frontier workers as they enter or leave Gibraltar to contain infection from outside Gibraltar, which Mr. Picardo said will not be compulsory, “but they will be part of our public health surveillance measures and will involve those who are entitled to GHA case”. The testing facility will be located near to the frontier to avoid increasing queues.
- Mechanisms to test passengers making their way to the UK to ensure that those who are infected do not travel. It was said that, for a fee, passengers will also have access to rapid testing upon disembarkation whereby a short quarantine may be required without them. Mr. Picardo said that this is to “provide further comfort to the United Kingdom in respect of the maintenance of the travel corridor”.
“Through both measures, we will be able to enhance scrutiny of infection and quickly limit its spread.”
Masks Now Mandatory in Certain Locations
The Chief Minister said that “data that we have from the RGP suggests that the amount of people taking on the advice on using masks in the area of Main Street was 20% … on Monday, a mere 13% were taking our advice.”
This, he says, has given the Government of Gibraltar “no choice to legislate”. Masks will be mandatory at the following locations on the Rock, where signage will be placed:
- Main Street
- John Macintosh Square
- Irish Town
- Engineers Lane
- Governor’s Street
- Lanes which connect to these locations
During the conference, it was revealed that occupancy in the external areas of Chatham had reduced “significantly” after last week’s announcement, but that “patrons were not disbursing from the area” once the restaurants had closed.
Following this, the Government of Gibraltar has implemented a no loitering restriction on Chatham Counterguard as from 11 PM – 1 AM every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Advice on Working from Home
“Work from home every day that you can … we don’t want to require you to work from home by law if we can avoid it”.
The Nightingale Facility on Standby
It was revealed that the Nightingale ward at Europa Point is on 24 hours’ notice to reopen if necessary.
The Chief Minister said that the UK has agreed to supply Gibraltar with the Covid-19 vaccine that it will be procuring once available. He said that this “demonstrates the UK’s continued commitment to support Gibraltar in these times of adversity.”
Influenza Vaccine for those Over the Age of 65 Now Available
Mr. Picardo said that the influenza vaccines for those over 65 has now arrived in Gibraltar and are available at the Primary Care Centre.
Appointments must be pre-booked by calling 200 52441 between 1 – 3 PM on weekdays.
Appointments will be made available from Monday – Friday, from 1 PM – 5:45 PM.
Finally, the Chief Minister pleaded with the public not to hold Halloween parties or take their children trick or treating this year to prevent “further spread of the virus”.
Restaurants have also been told not to host any Halloween parties.
“As the numbers of active cases in our community has risen, we must take care to protect our neighbours, our health services and indeed ourselves. The best advice this Halloween is to stay in the home and enjoy the day with family.”
He ended by saying “So let us work together to keep Gibraltar safe, to suppress the curve of infections. And let us keep going. Together, we will get through these inconveniences and we will smile again, we trick or treat again and we will burn a Guy again. Next year.”