This coming Monday (22nd of February) mask wearing will no longer be mandatory in all public spaces (except in designated areas), schools will reopen, bus services will recommence at 50% capacity, children’s parks will reopen, sports to recommence at limited capacity and the lottery will begin again. The curfew is expected to remain at least until the 14th of March.
The Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, announced that Gibraltar is now poised to step down from the “major incident” posture on the 1st of March at 6AM.
This comes as Gibraltar has seen a substantial reduction in the numbers of active covid cases since its peak earlier this year.
Out of 1,330 tests carried out on the 18th of February, only one new case was found. 1,459 tests were carried out on the 17th, where only one new resident case was found.
As of the 19th of February, there are only 39 active cases on the Rock, with 6 patients recovering in the Victoria Ward and 5 patients at the Covid CCU – all of whom are on ventilators.
“I expect that number to come down considerably… as we anticipate some 20+ recoveries over the weekend”.
The Chief Minister said: “These are now very, very low numbers of infections… we have made huge progress in pushing down the curve… and we have seen a great reduction of cases requiring hospitalisation.”
Here’s what will change as of Monday 22nd of February
- Masks will no longer be required throughout all public spaces in Gibraltar, except for in the Centre of town, Main Street and inside shops and internal public spaces.
- Children will return to school for the first time in over 2 months.
- The bus service will recommence, due to the fact that the schools reopening will lead to traffic, at 50% capacity and with mandatory mask wearing and hygiene measures in place. School buses will also commence service.
- Sporting activities will recommence, but only in group sizes of 12 and with a permit.
- The cemetery will now be open for visits and funerals with group sizes no more than 12 people.
- The Gibraltar Health Authority will deescalate to “Amber Alert” early next week; with a gradual return to “routine activity” and workers will be provided with “long overdue” staff leave.
- The 10 PM – 6 AM curfew is expected to remain “at least until the 14th of March”.
- Catering establishments expected to be able to reopen their doors to sit in dining on the 1st of March. Commenting on this, the Chief Minister said: “We believe this timeline provides a logical and progressive return for those who have been out of action for so long.”
Mr. Picardo said that the relaxation of restrictions “may result in an increase in infection rate in the coming weeks. We just have to accept that” and said that the ability of the GHA to manage Covid hospitalisations is now improved due to the reduction of cases.
Gibraltar’s vaccine drive has seen 27,687 vaccines having been administered in Gibraltar on the 17th of February. 11,303 Gibraltarians have now received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Now, Gibraltar is “well on the road to covering everyone over 50 already”, and Mr. Picardo thanked the UK for making these vaccines available to Gibraltar.
He said that 130 nations in the world have “not yet even been able to administer one dose of the vaccine to any member of their population. In that context I know that the whole of Gibraltar will want to reflect on the depth and value of our relationship with the United Kingdom”.
The next demographic to be given the option to have a vaccine will be from ages 15 – 50, in order of oldest to youngest – there will be no targeting by occupation as was done with frontline workers.
“My dear fellow Gibraltarians, we have crossed the Rubicon; we have seen the spike of infections tamed… but we must remain cautious, we are not an island and there are high rates of infection in the area of Andalucía around us… please be cautious with any visits to Spain”.
The Junta de Andalucía has announced that the perimeter closures will be lifted this Friday (19th) after a decrease in the rates of infection – joining Tarifa and San Martín del Tesorillo…