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GHA ready to process test results in Gibraltar

Up to 260 patient samples can now be tested for Covid-19 every 24 hours in Gibraltar, the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia confirmed on Thursday, in a move that will deliver a faster turn around of results.

The GHA had until now been sending samples to laboratories in the UK and Spain, often leading to delays in turnaround of results. 

But having received all the necessary equipment and chemicals, tests can now be turned around within 24 hours here.

“This is very good news,” Dr Garcia said adding: “It has take some time to get there and there were a number of difficult hurdles to overcome, not least a shortage in supplies and equipment.” 

But initial in-depth testing now complete and patient samples will be analysed here. 

“Gibraltar will welcome that this is now underway,” he said adding: “We are very thankful to all those who have made it happen.”

So far the GHA has taken 1,511 tests representing some 4.7% of the population. 

In terms of tests per capita, Gibraltar is ranked fourth in the world behind only the Faroe Islands, Iceland and the United Arab Emirates, Dr Garcia said.

“In the UK, for example, our sample would be the equivalent of 3.1 million tests,”he said.

"About 230,000 have been tested there so far. So we are doing well here compared to what happens elsewhere,” he added. 

The number of confirmed cases of the virus increased by three to 123 on Thursday, of which 60 have fully recovered. 

Of the 63 active cases the vast majority - 58 - are recovering at home. 

“This is a good thing,” Dr Garcia said adding: “It means that the symptoms are less serious. And that they do not require hospitalisation.”

“But if they did, there are 34 beds available in our COVID ward; there are 13 beds in our COVID ICU; 181 beds in total at St Bernard’s; and 190 more at the Europa Point Field Hospital which can be expanded to 300 in total.” 

“Indeed, today only 38 beds at St Bernard’s are in use. 143 beds are free. 443 in total if Europa Point is included.”

“This high capacity will allow us to deal with a surge. Let us hope we will never need them,” he said. 

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