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‘Cruel virus’ takes two more in ERS

Pic: Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government confirmed two more Covid-related deaths on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 25.

The deaths came as the number of people with Covid-19 in the Elderly Residential Services rose to 128.

The losses, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said, were overwhelming.

In the past two days alone, Gibraltar has lost seven of its elderly residents to the virus.

In the first two weeks of 2021, 18 people have passed away as a direct or indirect result of the virus, more than double the number last year.

Mr Picardo lamented the deaths, adding “this cruel virus has taken too many, too soon.”

One of the people who died on Thursday was a man well known to the Chief Minister, his very first boss.

“I knew the deceased man well, as he was my first direct boss very early in my career,” Mr Picardo said.

“I will always remember him as a gentle, kind man who was always happy to help and advise.”

“Please, stay at home unless it is absolutely essential. If you develop symptoms, call 111 urgently: don’t hesitate.”

“Remember to sign up for a vaccine and please accept it when the GHA offer it to you.”

“Our incredible frontline staff are giving every ounce of effort to beat this, but it is up to all of us. Together we will.”

Mr Picardo said his thoughts and sympathies are with the families and friends of the deceased.

The first death confirmed on Thursday was a woman in her 90s who was a resident of ERS and had underlying health conditions. She died from Covid-19 pneumonitis and her death was recorded as from Covid-19.

The second was a man also in his 90s and a resident of Elderly Residential Services who had underlying health conditions.

He died of multi-organ failure and bronchopneumonia caused by Covid-19, and his death was also recorded as being from Covid-19.

The deaths are the result of a month-long surge that now sees 174 people needing care, 128 of them in ERS, 34 in the Covid-19 Ward and 12 in the Critical Care Unit at St Bernard’s Hospital.

The number of active cases dropped yesterday by 17 to 1,000.

The 84 recoveries slightly tipped the balance, even though 78 new cases of the virus were detected.

Currently 9.4% of the population is either active or in self-isolation, and of the 63 new resident cases in Gibraltar today, 29 were close contacts of existing active cases.

More than four times Gibraltar’s population has been tested with 138,643 tests carried out.

Of these, a total of 31,051 tests have been carried out so far in the frontline, targeted and systematic sampling.

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