CM announces another Covid death as Gib steps down from major incident posture
Gibraltar is set to step down from its major incident posture and the curfew will be reduced as from Monday, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo revealed as he announced another Covid death in Parliament.
Mr Picardo confirmed the man, aged between 65 and 70 years old, had died from Covid-19, bringing the death toll to 92.
The announcement came as Mr Picardo reduced restrictions.
“I’m deeply saddened to confirm the loss of another member of our community to this awful virus and my condolences go out to his family and friends,” Mr Picardo said.
“Gibraltar now has a clear plan to return to the lifestyles that we enjoyed over a year ago. It is up to all of us to stick to that keep it on track.”
As from Monday, the 10pm to 6am curfew will be relaxed and, in its place, a 12am to 6am curfew will be imposed for at least the first two weeks of March.
The total number of people who will be able to gather in one place will remain at 12 for the first two weeks of March.
In catering establishments, the maximum number of people who will be able to book a table or sit at a table will be six.
“In order to ensure that we do not see great accumulations of people and the loss of inhibitions which can lead to behaviour that is more conducive to a lack of social distancing, there will be a temporary control on licensing hours so that there will be no alcohol sales between 3pm and 7pm in any catering establishment in the month of March,” Mr Picardo said.
“This is the balance that we are trying to do to enable our catering establishments to remain open later and to be able to offer a greater service to the public whilst at the same time not having the difficulties that we can have if we open our catering establishments and we permit business as usual.”
The curfew and the control of licensing hours will be reviewed after the first two weeks of March and, during this time, only table service will be permitted.
Catering staff will also need to “double mask” during this reopening period.
The low number of active cases and inpatients in St Bernard’s Hospital after weeks of social restrictions has resulted in measures being relaxed.
Currently there are 20 active cases, with no new admissions to the Critical Care Unit, and just one new Covid-19 case detected on Thursday.
Overnight, there has been one discharge from Victoria Ward and no further admissions.
Overall, there are three patients in CCU, all on ventilation, one patient on Victoria Ward who is stable, and one Covid-positive case in Elderly Residential Services.
As a result of the low number of cases, Mr Picardo said the Nightingale Hospital will be decommissioned and, instead, will again be on 14 days’ notice.
“Mr Speaker, the epidemiological advice that we have tells us that the prevalence of the virus worldwide is in decline at last,” Mr Picardo said in Parliament.
Mr Picardo said the Government was working with Public Health Gibraltar to bring back live sporting and cultural events, as well as audiences.
He added that this includes working with the Gibraltar Football Association for live attendance at their international matches at home, and with the promoters of the heavyweight title fight between Whyte and Povetkin to be organised in Gibraltar at the end of the month.
“We very much hope that these will be the first events that we will see return to our calendar,” Mr Picardo said.
“It is, however, probably too late to see some of the larger events organised and we will nonetheless all want to be very prudent about the numbers of persons permitted initially at such events and the social distance required between them.”
Mr Picardo congratulated the Gibraltar Boxing Association for the double achievement of admittance to the International Boxing Association and to the EUBC.
“This is extremely good news not just for the GBA but also for Gibraltar as a nation, in terms of our recognition on the European and World stages,” he said.
“I want to thank all those in the team who have fought hard for this recognition.”
“It is right that this achievement is publicly recognised and that the GBA is duly congratulated.”
“We will obviously gladly consider ways in which the Government can assist the GBA going forward.”
“I now urge the GBA to continue to work with the GSLA and GSAC and address the minor details which will bring to an end over three years of work.”
“This will allow the sport of Boxing to flourish and develop.”
Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, recognised the efforts of the vaccination programme, calling it a sterling example for how vaccines can be rolled out.
Mr Azopardi asked questions on how the ERS statistics are being compiled and how the return of sport and of fans and crowds will be managed.
He also asked about the return of the cinema and public performances, but questioned the advice of the double masks in a catering setting.
“Why is that a necessary public health measure when public health advice is we can return to crowds in a couple of weeks?” Mr Azopardi said.
Leader of Together Gibraltar, Marlene Hassan Nahon, asked when the restrictions on the ERS facilities would be lifted and questioned what restrictions would be placed on travelling into Gibraltar.
Mr Picardo said Public Health Gibraltar and ERS are working towards this, but the main concern is ensuring all residents will be kept safe.
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