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GHA to assess spread of coronavirus in Gibraltar

The Gibraltar Health Authority will carry out tests in the community to better assess and understand the spread of Covid-19 in Gibraltar, the Gibraltar Government announced on Friday.

The GHA said the virus represented “the biggest challenge to Gibraltar” in recent history and that the data would better help it target resources to best protect the community.

“Some of us will be receiving phone calls from the GHA over the coming days, asking that we participate in the survey,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.

“The caller will explain the procedure fully, but the aim is to make it as easy as possible to participate.”

“It is extremely important to co-operate fully, as the information gathered will be crucial for theGHA to assess the current situation and plan further action.”

The results will be made available to anyone tested and participation could help save lives, the GHA said, adding it thanked the community for its “incredible support” in the face of the virus.

“This initiative will allow the GHA to know how far the virus has already spread in our community and enable us to plan the best course of action to take in the days and weeks ahead,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

“If you receive a phone call, please co-operate with the medical professionals and be part of Team Gibraltar.”

“Be in no doubt, having this data will save lives.”

Until now, the GHA had a limited number of swabs and had targeted testing only on those who presented symptoms of the virus.

The announcement was welcomed by the GSD, which had previously called for "systematic and comprehensive" testing on a wider scale.

The GSD said better statistical information was needed to enable public health officials, the government and the wider community to better gauge the effectiveness of the lockdown and other measures aimed at preventing the spread.

"The Government's announcement on wider testing is welcomed and reflects the representations we have
made to the Government privately and our public calls for the acceleration of a comprehensive and
systematic testing of the population," said Elliott Phillips, the GSD MP who shadows the health portfolio.

"While we would have preferred that a more systematic programme be rolled out sooner we are glad it is now going to happen."

"The Opposition is united with Government in fighting the threat the virus represents to our people, our health service and our economy."

"We call on everyone in our community to support and cooperate fully with the GHA in the rolling out of the Covid-19 testing programme which has at its principal objective the preservation of life and the health and security of our community."

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