The Government continues to work to slow the growth of numbers of cases of COVID-19 in the community and will add measures to those already announced as a result of the continued growth in the number of cases.
In particular, the Government strategy is to introduce measures which will have an effect and thereby ensure we can avoid having to impose any general lockdown measures, leaving such an eventuality to a last resort.
As a result, as from this Friday 28th August, the following measures will come into effect immediately:
– Masks will now be required by law in all covered public places, subject to certain specific exceptions.
– The Government will recommend that people shouldnot socialise outside the family and established social groupings.
– Provision is being made for the return of full Golden and Silver Hour areas as from the day after National Day (Friday 11th September).
– Without legally providing for a lockdown, the Government’s recommendation to all over 70s is now to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for them to go out. In this respect, the Government will again upscale arrangements to provide all necessary delivery and other services to the over 70s who are unable to have such services provided by family members or others.
– The Government recommends that young people should not socialise with or visit their grandparents if they are over 70. Young people are the demographic with the most asymptomatic cases and they could unwittingly transmit the virus to elderly relatives who are the most vulnerable.
– There will be an immediate reduction of visiting times at Elderly Residential Services from 2 hours to 1 hour, and from 2 visitors to 1. It is likely that ERS may return to full lockdown in coming days or weeks.
– There will be restricted access to all our elderly housing blocks to visitors and imposition of masks and hand sanitisation protocols for residents returning to those blocks (Albert Risso House, Charles Bruzon House, Seamaster Lodge and Bishop Canilla House).
– A “No Loitering” policy at school gates will be introduced as schools open next week, to accompany and complement the staggered entry and exit system being introduced.
– The Government will work with the teachers’ union on the introduction where necessary of extended school hours to assist parents who would rely on grandparents over the age of 70 to collect children from school.
– The Government is considering the introduction of further measures to be implemented at Gibraltar International Airport before individuals are permitted to embark aircraft to the United Kingdom. This matter is under active consideration and discussions will be commenced with the United Kingdom in this respect. A further announcement will be made if appropriate.
– New measures will also be announced in respect of the celebration of National Day this year, which will include the cancellation of the fireworks display and the introduction of other restrictions. These will include the fact that there will be no large screens permitted for the viewing of the National Day programme in public places to avoid the congregation of crowds, as the Government’s intention is to discourage large crowds on the 10th September.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said: “I have been very pleased to note the very positive attitude to adherence to the measures we introduced last week.
“We are introducing further measures now and considering more measures for coming weeks in order to ensure that we can avoid a new general lockdown, whilst also controlling the numbers of persons with the infection.
“In order to ensure that we are taking steps timeously, the COVID-19 Special Coordination Group will now meet at least twice a week, and more often if necessary.
“Platinum Command will start regularly meeting once a week and will do a daily review of updated numbers of infections.
“I also want to highlight the way the RGP has moved to its “COVID-19 Engagement, Education and Explaining” strategy to help inform the public and ensure adherence to measures already introduced.
“I commend Commissioner Ullger for this proactive stance in keeping with the position of the National Policing Chiefs’ Council in the United Kingdom.
“The message to our over 70s has to now, once again, be stark and clear: STAY AT HOME.
“This is not a legal requirement, but it is clearly the best advice we can give them.
“As the height of summer recedes, over 70s should only go out if they have to.
“They should avoid socialising with younger people – even relatives, children and grandchildren – as these may be asymptomatic carriers of the virus who may infect them with fatal consequences.
“We have done very well until now as a community in avoiding the worst effects of COVID-19 and we can continue to do well if we stick together, follow the rules and protect our most vulnerable.
“Today, we have seen an increase in cases, but all are either asymptomatic or people suffering from fairly slight symptoms, with no one in hospital or ICU.
“Let’s keep it that way by continuing to work together, following advice from Public Health Gibraltar and showing the best of our community.”