Sunday, 28 Nov 2021

Gibraltar panics over Covid mixing despite low case numbers – Christmas ‘cancelled’

Gibraltar residents discuss coronavirus vaccine rollout success

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The Rock has urged people to “limit mixing as much as possible”, in new guidance published last Friday. The Gibraltar government has also cancelled all functions across departments, including Christmas parties, in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ministers have not yet ordered the public and businesses to follow suit, but the decision had sparked anger in the hospitality sector.

A statement released on Friday read: “The Government strongly advises against any large informal social events, parties or receptions being held over at least the next four weeks while the vaccine booster programme is rolled out.”

The measures come as the Gibraltar Health Authority recorded 70 new Covid infections on Tuesday.

Health officials added one person was hospitalised with Covid and another is in intensive care.

The UK is currently averaging more than 38,000 new infections each day.

Meanwhile in Spain, the figure is around 4,000 per day.

Gibraltar, which has a population of around 33,000, also boasts an impressive rate of vaccination.

Gibraltar has administered 94,019 vaccine doses – meaning most of its citizens have received three jabs.

Data compiled by Reuters shows this equates to 279.1 doses per 100 people.

In the UK, the figures is 160.1 doses per 100 people.

And in Spain, the number of doses administered is 157.5 per 100 people.

The Government of Gibraltar has nevertheless reiterated masks should be worn in shops, hospitals and public transport.

People are also encouraged to meet in outdoor spaces, where possible, despite winter drawing in.

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In an update, the Gibraltar government said: “It is important, in the above context, to limit mixing as much as possible. Public Health Gibraltar has identified that since 2nd October, a number of organised events have had adult positive cases associated with them.

“In addition to this, there have been separate community outbreaks related to different faith gatherings. This week it is also clear from the data that there has been a great increase of transmission in the workplace.

“Given the exponential rise in the number of cases, the Government, for example, intends to cancel a number of its own functions including official Christmas parties, official receptions and similar gatherings.

“The public, at this stage, are ultimately called upon to exercise their own judgement in this respect bearing in mind the current advice given.

“This consideration should include the number of persons, the setting whether indoor or outdoor, the degree of ventilation if indoor and whether those attending are vaccinated, elderly or vulnerable. In the same way as has happened in the past, this advice may change going forward.”

The Gibraltar Catering Association (GCA) has condemned the change in advice relating to events and warned many businesses are still struggling to make ends meet.

The GCA said: “The catering industry has endured a huge downturn in business during the Covid pandemic with many businesses still struggling and catching up on bills whilst accruing more and more debt.”

It adds: “Christmas business is vital for the restaurant trade to pull them through the low season from January to May.

“If cancellations continue it will spell trouble for a large percentage of local business of who many are already struggling in paying operational costs like water and electricity, suppliers and taxes.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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