Gibraltar has experienced a steady rise in active COVID-19 cases throughout October. It should serve as a reminder to us all that the pandemic is not over yet. As we enter the winter months, it is important to remain vigilant and keep up the tried and tested methods of keeping our loved ones and ourselves safe.
Good hand and respiratory hygiene are extremely important. This means washing your hands well and often, wearing a mask where it is required and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or elbow. It is also important to think carefully about who we socialise with and how.
Vulnerable individuals, particularly those over the age of 70, should take extra care if socialising and mixing with others. There has been a recent rise in cases amongst school age children, who often socialise and attend extra-curricular activities outside of the school setting. There is also evidence that large gatherings, for example public events and weddings, have been vectors for transmission in many of the recent community cases. It is important to take this into account when considering attending an event or socialising with someone who has recently attended a large gathering.
The COVID-19 booster vaccination campaign is currently underway for the over 50s, health and care workers and other vulnerable groups. Members of the public are strongly encouraged to register their interest online to receive a booster vaccine as they are rolled out: https://www.gha.gi/pfizerbooster/
Minister for Health, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, said: ‘The Director of Public Health advises that the trends show that in recent weeks there has been high transmission of the virus at large gatherings and group events. It is vital that this is kept under control in order to prevent further spikes in cases in the winter months. It is up to event organisers to strictly follow Public Health guidance and for individuals to be responsible in their own behaviour. This means maintaining good hand and respiratory hygiene, wearing a mask if required, thinking carefully about who we socialise with and how, and reporting even the mildest of symptoms to 111. We know that vaccination is the most effective method of reducing the severity of COVID-19 infection and preventing hospitalisation and death, and I strongly encourage anyone who is offered a booster to accept it.’