The Cabinet held its last meeting before Christmas this morning. This meeting took place virtually given ongoing concern at the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cabinet agreed that there should be a meeting of COVID Platinum Command on Thursday morning and that the Chief Minister should update the people of Gibraltar ‘live’ at 4pm on the same day. This will be broadcast ‘live’ on GBC and streamed on the Government’s Facebook page. The last twelve months have been traumatic for Gibraltar and for the planet as a whole.
The public will be aware that a number of European countries have now introduced restrictions which are designed to protect their people and the ability of their health services to cope. The Netherlands, for example, has already implemented a lockdown and other countries are considering doing the same.
The highly successful vaccination programme in Gibraltar has meant that we have so far been able to protect our health services from the worst consequences of the pandemic. The Government, on medical and public health advice, reiterates that the best way in which to protect our country as a whole is for people to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19 and to take advantage of the booster vaccine which is now available.
It is important to note that new restrictions have also come into force in the region of Andalucia next door. It will no longer be possible by law to enter catering establishments or leisure areas there without the relevant COVID pass. This means the Spanish and EU COVID pass. The Gibraltar COVID pass is presently compatible with that of the United Kingdom only and the extension of that compatibility to EU Member States is currently under discussion.
The public should ensure that when travelling outside Gibraltar, they familiarise themselves with the latest public health guidelines during transit and at their point of destination. It is important to bear in mind that different countries and regions will often apply different public health rules and regulations.
It is essential at the same time that everyone should behave in a cautious and sensible manner going forward, particularly in the weeks ahead. This includes wearing a mask where required by law, washing hands regularly and maintaining adequate social distance particularly when in the presence of elderly and vulnerable persons.
The testing programme in Gibraltar has been another success story of the last 18 months and the public are reminded that anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately call 111 and arrange to be tested.