Chief Minister’s Message to Gibraltar During COVID-19

-advertisement-
-advertisement-
  • 91 test results awaiting
  • 31 clear
  • 500 active cases in Andalucia
  • 2 active cases and 1 recovered case in Gibraltar

 

In his Ministerial speech preceding last night’s Newswatch, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo announced that we are facing a “public health emergency”, but assured that most cases will lead to recovery, reminding that “we have already seen one case lead to full recovery”, with the person in question being dubbed as “fit and well” whilst their partner repeatedly tested negative for the virus throughout.

However, the CM warned that not all cases will have such happy endings.

Restrictions on movement on those over age of 70 were announced for their own protection, as this age bracket is at greatest risk of death: “That is why with reluctance, but with resolve, we have changed our law… If you are over 70, do not leave your home unless its to purchase essentials or medicines, if you cannot otherwise get them.” The CM revealed that there will be an attempt to make other arrangements for remote consultations or doctors’ visits for those requiring it, and that an announcement will be made regarding remote shopping facilities for over 70s where their extended family cannot assist. If you are able to offer even just an hour of your time to volunteer, fill out this form. Leaving the home for work, to care for a loved one, or to exercise a pet, is permitted, “if absolutely necessary, not otherwise”.

“If you are over 70, I cannot emphasise enough to you how important it is that you follow these new laws, for your own protection.”

The Chief Minister admitted that today, we have “crossed the Rubicon” and that “this is no time for politics as usual” as he works together with the opposition to secure the safety of our citizens.

The CM continued: “I want to be clear with all our citizens; given the patterns we have seen in other countries,  whatever we do, vulnerable people will die of this virus. We will not be able to stop that. We cannot stop the wind and we cannot stop the tide. The Government cannot stop this virus, pretending to do so would be untrue, and I will not lie to you. We are at war with a hidden killer that preys on our elderly and out most vulnerable. There is no earthly power that can presently stop it, but we are taking measures to slow it down.”

Vulnerable people will die of this virus.

The public is urged to stay home wherever possible, to lower the number of people falling ill simultaneously. Avoiding spikes in infection will mean we have more resources when needed, to treat people. Whatever your age, if you follow the government advice and comply with their measures, you can help slow the virus down, save yourself from its worst effects, and saved a loved one from infection.

“In Italy, doctors have been left unable to provide care for some. No healthcare system in the world can provide intensive care on the scale that would be required if the time required it. So if we do not follow this advice and these measures, more of our people will die.”

The CM announced changes to our healthcare system including:

  • An increase in our intensive care beds by 500%.
  • An ICU just for COVID 19 patients and one for general ICU admissions.
  • A ward prepared just for suspect cases of COVID 19; a ready isolation facility.
  • A field hospital ready by the end of the week.

“Whatever resources the GHA needs that we can acquire, it will get. The professionals working in our Health Authority and in Public Health have worked tirelessly to be ready. They advise us that with these measures we can slow down the virus. I want to pay tribute to the work they have done to get us to this stage. I also want to thank them for the work they are about to embark on, on our behalf. Their hours will be longer than ever. They will be stretched and they deserve our support and deepest thanks. The team in our civil contingency operation, so ably led by former RG Commanding Officer Ivor Lopez has also done brilliant work.”

COVID-19: Call 111 if you have symptoms this is a COVID-19-dedicated line, to only be used by those having upper-respiratory-type symptoms. This is NOT a general helpline. Please help alleviate the strain on these already busy phone lines by adhering to these rules.

Sick notes: 200 07888

Repeat prescriptions: 200 07909 or email prescriptionrepeats@gha.gi

Evening GP telephone consultations/clinics (5-7pm): 200 07908

Emergency dental appointments: 200 07809 and 200 07962

Non-medical question related to COVID-19: 200 41818 or email covid.info@gibraltar.gov.gi

If you are in self-isolation or over 70 and require assistance: 200 41818 or email covid.info@gibraltar.gov.gi

If you develop a cough, fever, shortness of breath, nasal congestion or a runny nose: 111

Large public gatherings have been banned, with religious leaders agreeing to suspend public worship, which may continue for many weeks. The public is advised not to attend mortuaries, nor funerals if you are not a close relative of the deceased, as “Those are the places where the virus spreads the most, as if it were preying on our grief”.

The bus service has been curtailed, and all bars and restaurants have been forced to close (except for takeaway services).

You will receive a text notice from Gibtelecom to keep you up to date with the virus each day (the timing of which will sometimes be delayed). This information will also be available on the Goernment’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

A daily press conference will be held every day at 4pm as from tomorrow, live on the Government’s Facebook page, to inform the public of the latest developments.

The press conference will be live each day on the Government’s Facebook page.

“Schools will remain open, but this decision will be kept under constant review with the teachers’ union. Vulnerable children and teachers will be given direct advice on whether to attend school or not. None of these measures are being taken lightly.”

DO NOT TRAVEL TO SPAIN unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do, your reasons for travelling to Spain must in keeping with the rules governing the State of Emergency declared in that country. You may be asked for work permits when entering Gibraltar, and proof of residency/NIE when entering Spain.

The demographic and geographic circumstances of Gibraltar are different to most places. We are quite unique in facing this pandemic.

Perhaps most importantly, wash your hands, and ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ when you sneeze, and only rely on trusted, established media who fact-check before they publish. As the CM stated last night, “This is not a time for medical quacks or social media experts to second guess what our doctors and nurses are doing”.

More soon.

-advertisement-
-advertisement-