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Government ramps up Coronavirus Preparedness Planning – 113/2020

By February 25, 2020 No Comments

The Government’s Coronavirus Co-ordinating Group continues to take active measures to prepare for and protect Gibraltar from the spread of the virus. In weekly meetings, representatives from Government departments and emergency services have taken the advice of public health professionals in working to prevent the spread of the virus to Gibraltar. To date, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Gibraltar. All tests have returned negative.

These active measures include the publication of regulations imposing a legal duty for travellers arriving in Gibraltar within two weeks of travel to an at-risk country to report to authorities on arrival. Gibraltar’s entry points are being closely monitored. Travellers currently in at-risk regions are asked to contact Gibraltar authorities as soon as possible by emailing coronavirus@gha.gi with the subject line: self-isolation. They will be contacted by a Public Health professional who will advise you on the best way to protect yourself and others.

The Civil Contingency Council is monitoring Gibraltar’s preparedness IF the scenario arises that a case is confirmed. A table-top exercise last week confirmed that Gibraltar is currently taking measures over and above those being taken in the UK, whilst also providing some useful learning opportunities. The exercise included a practice patient transfer to St Bernard’s Hospital, and this will be practiced again this week. Repeat practices ensure that all staff are thoroughly prepared and the procedure is streamlined, and ready in case it is ever needed.

The Department for Public Health has co-ordinated a public hand hygiene campaign. This continues to be the best possible way to keep yourself and others safe from the spread of viruses and infections, including the coronavirus. This has been matched with an internal campaign within the public services, and bespoke training on infection control for frontline staff, provided by the Director for Public Health.

The global spread of COVID-19 is being constantly monitored and is under continuous review. The risk to Gibraltar currently remains low. For all up to date information, please visit www.wuhan.gi

Minister for Public Health, the Hon Professor John Cortes, said: ‘The public should rest assured that all that can be done to prepare for any potential coronavirus cases in Gibraltar, is being done. In the meantime, it is always good practice to keep good hand hygiene and use tissues to catch coughs and sneezes, and throw them away as soon as possible. Anyone travelling outside of Gibraltar is asked to pay close attention to the changing situation worldwide, and contact Gibraltar authorities as soon as possible if you are in an at-risk area. All travellers returning from an at-risk country within two weeks of arriving back in Gibraltar have a legal duty to report.’

Minister for Health and Care, the Hon Paul Balban, said: ‘I am extremely proud of the GHA for their work in preparedness and planning, and I am happy with the progress to date. I am confident that Gibraltar is in a good position and we are ready for any potential cases if they occur. I strongly encourage the public to follow the advice of public health professionals. It is up to all of us to do everything that we can to protect ourselves and others by keeping our hands clean and fulfilling our duty to report any travel to at-risk areas’.