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Eight bus drivers test positive, new case in Westside School as Covid-19 numbers climb

Johnny Bugeja

Eight drivers at the Gibraltar Bus Company have tested positive for Covid-19 and a third case of the virus was identified in Westside School on Monday, the Gibraltar Government said, as the number of active cases in Gibraltar rose to 38.

In a statement released, the Government revealed that an additional 12 drivers were now in self-isolation due to having been in contact with the positive cases, but that the company was taking all steps necessary to maintain services as normal.

On Monday, despite the impact on its workforce, most bus services were operating as usual.

In Westside School, 14 individuals including seven students and seven staff members were instructed to self-isolate after the latest case was detected, the third in as many weeks.

“There is no identified epidemiological link between this positive case and the previous two cases,” No.6 Convent Place said.

Students have been advised to continue attending school as normal if they have not been contacted by the Contact Tracing Bureau and have been invited to contact the school if they have any specific concerns arising from the new information.

The new cases came as the Gibraltar Government issued fresh guidance on Sunday on the use of face masks in public areas.

A key change is that parents collecting children from schools will have to wear masks while waiting outside.

The rules on face masks in covered public areas remain in place, with face coverings now obligatory inside the premises of any retail shop, with the regulations also applying to employees.

The Gibraltar Government also provided examples of what a retail shop entails: “These include but are not limited to a supermarket, grocery store, confectionery, butcher, fishmonger, health shop, perfume shop, electronics shop, clothes shops and shoe shops.”

Wearing face masks will also be mandatory in hair and beauty salons unless an individual is having a treatment done above their neck, as well as at estate agents, motor vehicle dealers and takeaway’s.

Medical and health service locations will also require all those who enter to wear a mask, including employees, with the same rules applying to gymnasiums.

However individuals who are “carrying out a training or exercise activity where social distancing can be maintained” are exempt from wearing a mask in gyms.

Personal trainers are also now required to be in possession of a permit from the Director of Public Health which will include specific conditions that must be met.

Those responsible for restaurants, cafeterias, and bars will also require a permit from the Director of Public Health, with the new regulations highlighting that the public must use a mask when in the premises unless sat at a table – while employees must use the masks at all times.

Moreover, additional information was provided regarding exemptions.

A child under the age of 11 and police officers “acting in the course of duty” fall under this umbrella, as do emergency responders who are “acting in their capacity as an emergency responder”.

Those who cannot wear masks due to a physical or mental issue are also exempt, as are individuals who are providing assistance to others who require lip reading to communicate.

Those who are travelling to “avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm” will also be exempt.

Breach of the rules can result in a fixed penalty notice of £100, or a fine of up to £10,000 being imposed if proven in court.