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Covid drive through to close on Sunday, with self-testing advised

The Covid-19 drive through test centre witnessed busy peaks earlier this year amid a surge in Omicron cases. Archive image by Johnny Bugeja

The Covid-19 drive through will close on Sunday at midday, the Gibraltar Government announced as it advised the public to self-test using Lateral Flow Tests available in pharmacies and shops.

The Government’s decision to revise the testing procedure follows advice from Director of Public Health and is in line with their Covid-19 Exit Strategy Plan.

The new strategy will involve self-testing, followed by a confirmatory test for those that are positive at the Covid Rapid test centre located next to the Gibraltar International Airport.

“Switching to this new procedure for testing as Gibraltar moves forward with the COVID-19 Exit strategy allows for greater flexibility for the public whilst also allowing us to keep track of the virus and its epidemiology,” Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, said.

“It is important to remember that the virus has not gone away and my advice to the public is to take sensible precautions to protect vulnerable family and friends. It is now the responsibility of every citizen to take a test if they have symptoms, report the results and isolate if they are positive for as long as necessary.”

The drive through at Mid-Town will close on Sunday, April 24 at midday, and starting from 8am on Monday, April 25, anyone experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 should test themselves using a Lateral Flow Test, the GHA said.

If the self-test is positive, the GHA has advised they contact the Covid Rapid Testing service online at www.covidrapidtest.gi or by phone on 22502248 to make an appointment for a confirmatory LFT.

“At the appointment, the Covid Rapid Testing service will require a valid, in-date GHA card

and the positive at-home LFT, which will be disposed of by the testing centre,” the GHA said.

“This service will be free for GHA cardholders.”

“Test results will be provided via SMS. Those whose confirmatory LFTs are positive are

required to self-isolate for up to 10 days.”

“The Covid Rapid Testing Service will send a further SMS to those whose confirmatory tests are positive with instructions on how to collect two LFT self-test kits, so that day 6 and day 7 tests can be done at home. If these tests are both negative on days 6 and 7, isolation can be stopped on day 7.”

VULNERABLE PERSONS

The GHA advised vulnerable persons experiencing Covid-19 symptoms should call 111 for advice and to arrange for a test if necessary.

Individuals may be vulnerable to serious illness from Covid-19 if they have:

• Down’s syndrome

• Sickle Cell Disease

• Current cancer or has received treatment for cancer in the last 12 months (chemotherapy in past 12 months or radiotherapy in past 6 months)

• Leukaemia or lymphoma or myeloma or has had treatment for these or other blood cancers in the last 12 months or has received a stem cell or bone marrow transplant for any reason. Other haematological diseases that require immunosuppressant treatment (e.g. aplastic anaemia, paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria)

• Severe kidney failure, is on dialysis or has had a kidney transplant

• Severe liver disease or has had a liver transplant

• An immune/ auto-immune disease which is treated with immunosuppressant drugs

• A diagnosed immune deficiency syndrome

• HIV

• Received an organ transplant (heart, lungs, pancreas etc).

• One of the following neurological conditions: Multiple sclerosis, Motor neurone

disease, Myasthenia gravis or Huntington’s disease.

Further information for vulnerable persons is available online here.

PRE-SURGERY PCR TEST AND SICK NOTES

Individuals who require a pre-admission PCR test prior to surgery will be advised by the Pre-Surgery Assessment Clinic team and issued with an appointment to attend the Covid Rapid test centre.

Patients who may already have test appointments for dates beyond Monday, April 25 have been contacted by the GHA to confirm that the appointment will now be at the Covid Rapid Test centre.

Covid-19 sick notes will continue to be available for those who test positive at the Covid-19 rapid testing service.

Anyone who has had a confirmatory LFT or PCR and require a Covid-19 Sick Note should email covidsicknote@gha.gi.

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