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CM Says Gibraltar will Return to “Different World” as Lockdown Extended & Exit Strategy Discussed

Chris Gomez

Chief Minister of Gibraltar Says Gibraltar Will Return to “Different World” As Lockdown Extended, Exit Strategy Discussed and first BEAT COVID payments made

The Chief Minister announced yesterday that Gibraltar will be returning to a “different world” and that “social distancing is unfortunately here to stay” as Gibraltar lockdown measures are extended for another 30 days, subject to weekly reviews, effective as from 23.04.2020.

“We are not out of the woods yet”

This means that the extended Gibraltar lockdown period will end on the 23rd of May, but we should also be seeing a review of the rules for over 70’s, who may soon be able to take advantage of the ‘Golden Hour’ exercise scheme.

He also stated that this summer will “involve a very different way of going to the beach” for Gibraltar, potential “imposition of self-isolation”, temperature testing at entry points to the Rock as well as businesses and certain areas, and that the Government of Gibraltar is also looking into tracking apps by tech giants Apple and Google.

This comes as Gibraltar experiences a slowdown of the rate of the spread of infection on the Rock, with 133 confirmed coronavirus cases; 129 of which have recovered, and only 4 currently active cases, all of which are at home, and zero deaths to date.

The Chief Minister stated that Gibraltar’s number of coronavirus cases are very low indeed, but issued a stern warning against complacency: “Our success in keeping that number low may be our greatest challenge in persuading you that the lockdown rules must continue. But as we start to do more random testing, we will likely find many more asymptomatic carriers are present in our community.”

Fabian Picardo States Lockdown Can’t be Lifted too Soon

“Remember I have told you that we will not allow these rules to remain in place for one moment longer than is necessary. But neither can they be lifted – in whole or in part – one moment before we are able to confidently lift them.”

Bespoke-Exit Strategy will see Gibraltar Returning to a “Different World”

Fabian Picardo stated that the Government of Gibraltar is working on a ‘bespoke exit strategy’, following recommendations set out by the World Health Organization, which is currently under fire for issuing conflicting advice, which will be published soon.

The strategy will also follow advice being pursued in England, Scotland, Germany and in Spain.

“The strategy will not be about returning to normal. Because we cannot return to normal for now”

“It will likely involve a very different way of going to the beach this summer and it will involve people being encouraged to self-identify if they have the symptoms of the virus and to self-isolate without fear of financial loss when they do so.”

“The future may also involve very aggressive testing and even more aggressive contact tracing and where necessary the imposition of self-isolation.”

The CM also mentioned temperature control checks at different areas of the Rock; that masks may be in use for the long haul and that social distancing will be here to stay.

Gibraltar Considering Tracking Apps from Tech Giants

“It may involve new apps deployed on your phones,” the Chief Minister stated. “We are already talking to the UK Department of Health and Google and Apple about these opportunities via colleagues in the Foreign Office with whom we have been working closely during the course of this public health emergency.”

He also stated that the Government of Gibraltar “will be using them in a way that protects your privacy and data as much as possible.”

This comes in the wake of growing anxieties throughout the world about the danger of some of these monitoring measures when it comes to the possible unjustified interference with and degradation of freedom and human rights

The Chief Minister’s clear note of caution will come as a relief to many.

BEAT COVID Measures and Hope for Gibraltar’s Private Sector

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo Says Gibraltar Will Return to “Different World” As Lockdown Extended & Exit Strategy Discussed

Monday saw the Government of Gibraltar issuing the first of the ‘BEAT’ scheme payments, which will total to £5m in the coming days.

“Also being paid is a sum close to £310,000 in respect of 355 self-employed persons whose claims have been approved for payment,” which may push the total amount paid to the region to £6m in this first month.

“But our spending now is to stave off social and economic collapse.

We will achieve that.

And I think we have made history here – especially for such a small administration – and we must appreciate how much work has gone into getting money out of the door quickly, properly checked and to the right recipients in such a short space of time.”

The CM warned that “we will have to cut our coats to fit our cloth appropriately”, and that this level of spending on the Government balance sheet has no “precedent in history. Not even in periods of war or the closed frontier…”

Finally, the CM said: “But we have a duty to preserve our prosperity for future generations and ensure that we keep our finances strong for coming years as we come out of this crisis also.”

Chief Minister of Gibraltar Says Gibraltar Will Return to “Different World” As Lockdown Extended, Exit Strategy Discussed and first BEAT COVID payments made

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