The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) has, as from Monday, reduced the alert and readiness status of all GHA sites to AMBER/SUBSTANTIAL, following almost 8 weeks of high (Red or Black) readiness alert. This relaxation of the alert and readiness states of the health authority is in response to the falling numbers of cases of COVID-19 in the community and the low numbers of admissions to the hospital.
An AMBER operational status means that some priority surgeries, interventions and investigations can be restarted once again. Restrictions to some elective surgeries and outpatient activity remain for the time being but will be reviewed regularly and frequently with a view to restarting these as soon as possible.
A SUBSTANTIAL organisational threat level means that annual leave for GHA staff can now be permitted, allowing hard working and exhausted staff some time to recover and spend time with family.
While a SUBSTANTIAL threat level would ordinarily allow for a return of visitors to GHA sites, the decision has been made to remain closed to visitors for at least the next two weeks, with a review on 1 March 2021. This is to allow time to observe any increase or spike in cases now that schools have reopened and some community spread of the COVID-19 virus is expected.
Overall this means that clinical services are now able to plan for and gradually resume activity along with allowing some GHA staff leave.
Dr Krishna Rawal, Acting Medical Director said: “I am delighted to be able to relax the readiness state of the GHA so we can look forward to restarting clinical activity and giving our teams some very well deserved time off. This must be carefully managed to ensure that we slowly restart services while keeping a very close eye on positive cases in the community and admissions to hospital.”
The Minister for Health, the Hon Samantha Sacramento said: “It is a difficult and fine balance between unlocking to allow patients back in to GHA services, which we are exceedingly keen to do, while also maintaining a cautious approach and not acting too soon while there are still cases in the community. It is with regret that at this time we cannot yet allow visitors back in to GHA premises, but this will be under close and regular review, and we will do our utmost to allow visitors as soon as possible.”