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Tourism & Testing | Latest Gibraltar COVID19 Updates: Everything You Need to Know

Chris Gomez

COVID cases remain low in Gibraltar & the Campo while parts of Malaga and Granada see a ‘spike’; Gibraltar tourists sites reopen and frontier crossings increase, GHA restarts clinical activity, free testing to be announced to those not experiencing symptoms in Gibraltar & more… here’s everything you need to know from today’s press conference.

Gibraltar Holiday 2020 Summer

As of today (06.07.2020), 46% of the Gibraltarian population have been tested for COVID19, with 14,646 swabs having been carried out.

Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Joseph Garcia stated that “this has made Gibraltar a world leader”.

To date, 179 cases of COVID19 have been confirmed on the Rock; and there are currently only 2 active local cases, and one cross-frontier case. All of which are recovering at home.

This comes after Gibraltar experienced a 3-week period with zero active cases locally – and the neighbouring province of Cádiz, and specifically in the Campo de Gibraltar, continue to show low rates of infections.

There are zero deaths to date as a result of COVID19 on the Rock.

COVID19 Cases in the Campo de Gibraltar Remain Low While Cases Rise in Malaga and Granada

The Rock of Gibraltar and the Campo Hinterland
@Christian Ferrary

Today’s statistics show that the Campo de Gibraltar continues to have low numbers of COVID19 cases, with a handful of cases recorded throughout the pandemic. Algeciras shows 10 active cases, 1 in San Roque, 1 in Tarifa and zero in La Línea, Los Barrios, Jimena, Castellar and San Martin.

The risk level in Malaga and Granada have now increased from “low” to “medium”, with 103 cases in Malaga alone.

Gibraltar Stands Prepared for Possible 2nd Wave of COVID19

During today’s press conference, Dr. Joseph Garcia opened by saying “we stand better prepared to face COVID19 than ever before. So, if a second wave comes our way, Gibraltar is ready for it.”

The Europa Point Sports Hall remains prepared to reactivate within 72 hours should the Rock experience a high volume of COVID cases and COVID-related ICU admissions, with the availability 300 beds if necessary.

Gibraltar Tourist Sites Reopen Today: “Our proud message to visitors is that our country is safe”

Gibraltar Tourism Safe COVID19 Summer 2020 Skywalk
Gibraltar Skywalk | ©Fran Montes, Reach Alcance

Today, Gibraltar’s tourism sites in the Nature Reserve have reopened, including the Skywalk, with the exception of the WWII tunnels, which is due to open its doors on the 20th of July.

Opening hours are from 9.30am to 7.15pm, last entry at 6.45pm. The Skywalk opening hours are from 9.00am to 9.00pm (July to September)

Dr. Garcia revealed many of those working in the tourism sector have been tested to date; 60 staff at Gib Air, 13 at Gibraltar Air Terminal Ltd and 41 hotel staff.

Sunborn yacht Hotel Gibraltar Tourism
Sunborn Gibraltar Yacht Hotel in Ocean Village | ©Fran Montes, Reach Alcance

“In these tourism related areas, all tests have come back negative. Our proud message to visitors is that our country is safe, and we want it to stay that way”.

The extent of Gibraltar’s substantial ramping up of testing each month and low positive cases is a testament to this. In April, 1930 tests were carried out and this increased to 6,234 in the month of June.

Some countries are requiring a certificate from tourists in order to enter the country, Gibraltar currently does not require this upon entry.

Did you know? In 2018 Gibraltar tourism brought in £274m into the economy. See full article here.

Frontier Crossings Increase into Gibraltar | Numbers of crossings by month

La Linea and Gibraltar
Gibraltar / Spain Frontier | ©Fran Montes, Reach Alcance
  • April: 63,000
  • May: 108,000
  • June: 373,0007

Dr. Garcia pointed out that this is still “well below” 2019 crossings, which saw 1m people cross the frontier in June.

You can Now Book a Free COVID Test & See Results in 12 Hours with a GHA Card

Those who do not have symptoms of COVID19, but who wish to be tested can now book a free swab at the drive-through facility at the Rooke site by calling 200 41818.

Those who book a test will need their GHA card number to hand, and can expect their results to come back within 12 hours. This service is not available to children under 16.

The Deputy Chief Minister urged people to “book early” in order to get the results back as soon as possible.

Certificates can be issued in order to allow for travel to countries whose airports require one of these certificates at least 3 days prior to departure.

A Government press release states: “In future, we will be able to provide a certificate to assist in any travel requirements. However, there will be a charge for this service.”

GHA Clinical Restart Plan “continues to move forward”

Gibraltar COVID19 Testing

Face-to-face appointments at the GHA have already begun, and the health service is seeing more screening services and routine surgeries being carried out.

This under the new health and safety regulations whereby social distancing must be observed, and gaps between appointments are made to avoid gatherings.

COVID Teams Relocate to Europa Point

The Swab Preparation team has moved to the Europa Point Sports Complex along with the call centre for “non-medical covid queries”, which can be reached at 200 41818, and whose phone lines are open from 8 AM to 2:30 PM.

Testing Programmes

During the conference, Dr. Garcia explained the two types of testing programmes that Gibraltar has in place:

  1. Diagnostic testing: Tests carried out on those who turn up at A&E, patients in wards, GHA staff screening and contacts on day 10 of isolation.
  2. Frontline Testing: This involves the swabbing of persons with no symptoms but who are at a higher risk of exposure. To date, 6,682 tests have been carried out in this category, with only 33 positive results. Dr. Garcia stated that “this figure reflects the low incidents of COVID19 in Gibraltar. It also confirms that people around us, albeit not many, who may look and feel perfectly fine but are still infected.”

The scope of testing has included 62 categories of employees, both in the public and private sector, including 1,000 people in education, over 100 restaurant staff, over 50 in private dental and medical clinics, 150 in security companies etc…

“This wide sample will reassure the community at large, and it will also reassure visitors to Gibraltar”.

Contact Tracing BEAT COVID Gibraltar App

Gibraltar Contact Tracing App BEAT COVID19

To date, 6,681 people have downloaded the BEAT COVID Gibraltar app which the Government is promoting to be used by both locals and cross-frontier workers.

The DCM stated: “We urge you to download the contact tracing app, this will let you know quickly”, and assured that the app involved no storage of personal data and works anonymously.

Government of Gibraltar to Launch Public Enquiry says DCM

“When this is finally over, the Government remains committed to a public enquiry. This will look at the way in which the OCVID19 pandemic was handled. An important objective will be to learn any lessons and to establish what, if anything, could have been done differently.

All sights are now set on the 15th of July Unlock Phase 6, and the final ‘Rock Unlocked’ status which will hopefully be reached on the 1st of August.

Dr. Garcia closed by saying: “the way we live, and work will be very different to the way we lived and worked before. Expert advice is that the virus is here to stay, at least for now, so we must continue to take sensible precautions in the months ahead.”

What do you think?