The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) has now taken affirmative action as a precautionary measure, to protect patients and staff during this phase of containment of the COVID -19 virus (Coronavirus) in order to prevent potential spread.
With effect from 10 March 2020, all GHA clinical teams have been instructed to commence a phased reduction in non-essential, non-urgent and routine services as a preparation for an anticipated increase in cases of COVID-19 infections. All non-essential and non-urgent services including surgery, are being reduced this week with a view to being stopped by the end of the week.
All urgent and emergency surgery, essential appointments and services will continue as normal, including all urgent cancer cases which will NOT be affected.
This may mean that routine surgeries and treatments, outpatient and GP appointments including follow ups, and any non-essential services may be postponed, or carried out by telephone or from an offsite location.
These measures are to ensure that any asymptomatic patient attending the GHA does not inadvertently, and through no fault of their own, infect the many vulnerable patients and healthcare workers within the hospital who we must protect.
These plans will constantly be reviewed and updated. Any changes will be communicated in further Press Releases.
Patients will be informed if or when there are any changes to their scheduled appointments.
The Government is confident that Gibraltar is as ready as possible for the impact of the virus.
The Government continues to take the advice of our Public Health professionals and the situation is under constant review.
The best thing that everyone can do to protect themselves and their loved ones is to wash hands regularly and well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. It is also a good idea not to shake hands, hug or give kisses when greeting colleagues, friends and relatives for the time being, especially if they are over 70. We know that the elderly and people with chronic health conditions are the most vulnerable, so we must all do our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones out of harm’s way.
If you do not feel well, please do not go to the Primary Care Centre or to St Bernard’s Hospital as this puts you and others at greater risk. Go home, avoid public transport and call 111 as soon as you can to tell us about your symptoms.
For almost 90% of people, the symptoms will be very mild and most people who contract the virus will be able to recover well and quickly at home. 99% of people will likely fully recover. The focus now is to increase the distance between people in order to try to slow the spread as much as possible, and to take extra care with older and vulnerable friends and relatives. Think twice before you pay them a visit and strongly consider whether you could phone or video call them instead.
Please look to official sources for advice, particularly www.wuhan.gi.
- PROTECT your loved ones – call, don’t visit
- WASH your hands
- CALL 111 if you feel unwell