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Unlock the Rock: Freedom of Movement & Gatherings Under 12 People to be Allowed

Chris Gomez

“We do not believe that it would be proportionate to continue these restrictions against freedom of movement given the low numbers of infections reported today.” – Chief Minister Fabian Picardo

Gibraltar continues to show low numbers of infections of COVID19 despite the substantial increase in testing of the population and frontline workers.

As of today (12.05.2020), the number of active cases remain at 4. With a total of 148 confirmed cases to date, with 144 recoveries and zero deaths.

Today marks the 6th consecutive day in which Gibraltar’s number of infections has remained in single digits.

During today’s press briefing the Chief Minister and Director of Public Health Dr. Bhatti, went into the details and reasoning for the 75-page ‘Unlock the Rock’ document, which was released at 4pm today.

Upcoming changes will see the lifting of laws restricting freedom of movement (i.e. the ability to leave your homes for whatever reason) for all age groups on the 21st of May and gatherings of under 12 persons will be allowed as from Monday, 18th of May.

The Government has advised that people should take note of who they have been in contact with over the days in order to facilitate contact tracing should a person test positive for COVID19.

Ocean Village Gibraltar

The 18th of May will also see the end to the daily COVID19 press briefings and sporting activities will restart.

Large gatherings (over 12 persons) will continue to be outlawed, and religious gatherings will not be considered by the government until Phase 3 of the ‘Unlock the Rock’ timeline, which would be some time in June.

As from the 1st of June, restaurants should be able to open their doors and operate at 50% capacity – cafeterias are expected to reopen with the same rules as apply to restaurants.

According to the document (see link below), bars will “likely to be able to reopen with some restrictions” during phase 4 – which begins on the 16th of June. The 16th of June should also mark the official beginning of the 2020 bathing season.

The aspiration is that Gibraltar will achieve “Rock Unlocked”, but basic social distancing continue to be advised, and testing and “aggressive contact tracing” will continue.

Between each phase there will be a 2-3 week ‘wait-and-see’ period in which the number of infections will be monitored to see if there has been a spike and whether or not the lifting of restrictions will have to be delayed or reversed.

The Chief Minister stated that the changes in law does not change their official advice:

“This document which we published today is not about total freedom as from tomorrow … we are not changing our advice for that reason. The virus is still out there; so, stay at home, that is the safest course.”

View the full copy of the ‘Unlock the Rock’ document here.

Dr. Bhatti, Director of Public Health, said:

“We have successfully contained this virus already. We went into that lockdown and we did it with a complete lockdown – but its not something we would wish to happen again. The cost was horrendous, many of us have suffered from the isolation that resulted … that’s why Public Health Gibraltar is establishing and reinforcing 3 key services that will help us navigate…”

Mr. Picardo Writes to Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson Intensive Care

Mr. Picardo has today written to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson setting out the reasoning as to why Gibraltar “should not be subject to the same quarantine provisions as may apply to other countries”.

It was revealed that the matter of Gibraltar’s exemption is being pursued in London by the All Party Group and that “colleagues in the foreign office” are considering all arguments which may be relevant in support of Gibraltar’s position.

What do you think?