The Gibraltar Government has reassured residents, and visitors, that its COVID-19 health and safety measures are among the most effective in the world. Following this week’s Platinum Command meetings, held to review latest situation reports and statistical data in relation to the ongoing pandemic, the government issued a statement declaring that Gibraltar was “now better prepared and better equipped than at any time since the pandemic began”.
The meeting concluded that “one of the most important weapons that Gibraltar has deployed in this battle is an aggressive testing and contact tracing campaign. Indeed, our record of testing per population continues to be one of the best in the world. Gibraltar can be well and truly proud of this achievement.”
Meanwhile, the latest update from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has reiterated Gibraltar’s status as one of the few countries or territories from where travellers returning to Britain are not required to quarantine for 14 days. Gibraltar is also exempt from the FCDO’s advice against all non-essential international travel, a decision based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
One of the key measures relayed to Gibraltarians and tourists after the first Platinum Command meeting, convened by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, was that people “take sensible precautions when going about their business. This includes the use of face masks where required, maintaining social distancing and continuing with regular hand-washing and hygiene measures. It is of particular importance that those persons over 70 and those with underlying health conditions take adequate steps to protect themselves.”
The second meeting two days later considered the director of public health’s views on the evolution of the pandemic. Those attending concluded, “Contact tracing is an essential part of the fight to suppress the infection and control the spread. The Contact Tracing Bureau will ask anyone who has tested positive to provide the names of people they have been in close proximity to for a given period of time. Therefore, when people are asked to self-isolate, it is because it is essential to keep the virus away from others.
“This means that it is imperative that confirmed cases of COVID-19 supply truthful and accurate details of their close contacts. We do not want the virus to get away.”
The government said its objective was to avoid another lockdown. “The measures put in place like the wearing of face masks, testing and contract tracing are designed to prevent it. This makes it all the more imperative that all of Gibraltar pulls together in the same direction in the fight against this deadly disease by cooperating with the Contact Tracing Bureau if called upon to do so.”
Also this week, the government issued an official technical notice for aviation “in the event that there is no agreement on the future relationship of Gibraltar with the European Union”. Gibraltar Airport currently operates no flights to the European Union – just the United Kingdom and Morocco.
The notice clarified that the position regarding flights to the United Kingdom “would remain largely as it is today”. The framework of legislation governing those flights would change from EU law to international conventions and agreements on the subject. The position regarding flights to Morocco would also remain unchanged in practice.
The government said it would “continue to do everything possible to mitigate the effects of leaving the transition period at the end of the year without an agreement. However, there are some areas which are outside the control of the government and where little can be done. These are the consequences of leaving the European Union. It is therefore important that citizens and businesses fully investigate the impact of those consequences on their daily routine and that they too plan accordingly.”
Photo courtesy of HM Government of Gibraltar