Gibraltar will not proceed to “Rock Unlocked” this 1st August and will remain in Phase 6 “with modifications” due to global and regional COVID19 situation; how the UK 14-day quarantine rule for arrivals from Spain affects Gibraltar; facemasks, mobile swabbing & state of play for flu season this winter 2020… here’s everything you need to know from today’s press conference.
As of today (27.07.2020), Gibraltar has recorded 5 active cases of COVID19: 2 residents of Gibraltar and 3 visitors. The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo said that all active cases are recovering at home or at other accommodation and that none of these 5 cases have resulted in hospitalization.
19,731 swabs have been carried out to date, which represents 58% of the Rock’s population, with the Chief Minister stating that this makes Gibraltar a “world leader” for tests done per capita million.
Opening today’s weekly COVID19 briefing, Mr. Picardo said this “will not be our last press conference, and we will not be announcing today that we will be moving to Rock Unlocked on Saturday.”
Therefore, Gibraltar will remain in “Phase 6” and will not proceed to the final “Rock Unlocked”, which would have entailed the lifting of restrictions on public gatherings, which is currently limited to 20 people per group, and the further easing of restrictions in the catering industry.
He revealed that the Government of Gibraltar is “very concerned” about increases in cases within “jurisdictions most relevant to Gibraltar” – stating that the 5 cases of COVID19 in Gibraltar this month originate from arrivals from the UK.
“Europe itself may be in a second wave already, although nobody is yet using that term” – Fabian Picardo
According to Mr. Picardo, the decision to delay the “Rock Unlocked” has been led by Public Health advice which has been based on the fact, among others, that 300 “clusters” have been detected throughout Spain, with 34 of those clusters being in Andalucía.
He also pointed to Morocco, which is in a “public health lockdown” until August 10, with local lockdowns having been implemented in 8 towns in Morocco, including Tangier.
“In the circumstances, I want to fall back on a simile referred to by Dr. Bhatti in months past when he described Gibraltar as sitting like a dry bush between 2 raging fires – we appear to remain in that situation today.”
“…we will be making an assessment of what posture we will be able to take from the 1 August. We are not ready to make that announcement today because things are moving very quickly,” the Chief Minister said, stating that there will be “modifications” made to the current stance.
Also considered is the implementation of the compulsory use of facemasks within enclosed spaces around Gibraltar.
“We do not envisage another lockdown … but we similarly do not envisage any easy move to unlocking”
This coming Friday (31.07.2020) at 11:00 AM there will be another COVID press conference whereby the Chief Minister will be providing further details as to the Government of Gibraltar’s posture for August 1.
“We do not at this stage envisage a further lockdown and we do not envisage difficulties at the frontier. But we similarly do not envisage any easy move to unlocking. The key, as ever, will be your help and support.”
UK’S 14-Day Quarantine Rule on Arrivals from Spain: How does it Affect those travelling from Gibraltar?
The United Kingdom removed Spain from its “Safe Travel List” and, effective from Saturday 25th July, and those arriving into the UK from Spain have been subjected to a 14-day quarantine.
The Chief Minister said that at present, the 14-day quarantine rule implemented by the UK on those arriving from Spain does not apply to those who have been staying in Gibraltar, so long as they have not been in Spain during their stay within the past 14 days.
If someone travelling to the United Kingdom from Gibraltar International Airport has been to Spain within the last 14 days of their departure, they will be required to declare this and quarantine once arriving in the UK.
The Chief Minister said: “In our view that fairly reflects that the Gibraltar airport should not be used as a back door to the UK by those who have been in Spain, but that those who have not been in Spain and who are coming from Gibraltar, where the incidents of the virus is entirely low and where the virus that we have detected has indeed arrived in Gibraltar from the UK ironically, those are not going to be subject to the quarantine.”
Gibraltar’s Mobile Swabbing Initiative Continues this Week | TIMETABLE
Gibraltar started a “mobile swabbing” initiative last week to allow people to be tested, free of charge for those holding a GHA / resident card, who have no symptoms of COVID19 but who wish to be tested.
This initiative continues to this week, and below is the timetable should you wish to be swabbed.
- Monday, 27th July: Piazza – 08:00 – 12:30
- Tuesday, 28th July: Caleta Hotel – 08:00 – 12:00
- Wednesday, 29th July: Piazza – 08:00 – 12:30
- Thursday 30th July – Saturday 1st August: Morrisons Supermarket – 07:30 – 12:30 (Saturday ending at 11:30)
State of Play for Winter: What will autumn & winter mean in the context of COVID19?
Speaking of a possible “second wave”, Mr. Picardo said that the most concerning aspect for the Government of Gibraltar for this autumn and winter will be the arrival of the common cold as well as COVID19:
“What concerns the government the most, and this is the advice that we are receiving, is that in the autumn” … we will see the arrival of the common cold, which is another coronavirus its just not covid19 … we’ll also expect to see covid still amongst us, and the symptoms are almost identical. So, the biggest challenge will be detecting covid19 from the normal coronavirus.”