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Gibraltar’s virus cases 80% below initial forecast, but no room for complacency

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Gibraltar at this time are more than 80% lower than public health predictions had forecasted, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said yesterday, as he attributed the difference to legally-enforced changes in public behaviour.

There were seven new cases of the virus confirmed on Monday, taking the total up to 109 from 102 on Sunday. Of these 57 are active and 52 are fully recovered.

But previous public health predictions had estimated that Gibraltar would have had 592 cases by April 5, some 82% higher than the actual figure.

Speaking at the 4pm press conference yesterday Mr Picardo said: “The initial predictions we had were based on data from outside of Gibraltar with no preventative action on Government’s part.”

“Current predictions now have the benefit of our own data and follow a number of measures such as the lockdown of over 70s, the restaurant lockdown and subsequently, the general social lockdown.”

“So we are now in a better position to have more accurate predictions,” he said adding: “There is also a real suggestion that our measures are working.”

But Mr Picardo insisted too that there was no room for complacency and that it was vital people adhered to the lockdown rules to prevent a spike in infections.

Early analysis of the random sampling exercise the GHA is currently finalising shows that the rate of infection within the community is around 2%.

As of Monday, 391 random swabs had been taken of which 184 had been returned and four were positive. There are another 207 results pending.

“I expect that this week we will be able to share with you more information, perhaps in graphic form, of how the virus has spread and what we think the ‘curve’ may now look like for Gibraltar,” the Chief Minister said.

That data will be analysed in detail locally by a research group of scientists once all the results are returned.

There are currently 98 healthcare workers in isolation, Acting Medical Director Dr Krishna Rawal explained at the same press conference, as he highlighted a GHA epidemiology study into those healthcare workers and said there was no evidence that the spread of the virus had come from the hospital.

“The infection has come from the community,” he said.

Of staff that have tested positive for Covid-19, Dr Rawal said they represent 25% of the total number of confirmed cases.

“However, all of the contingency planning that we have put in place, not only for Brexit but also for this outbreak and this pandemic, always was working on what would happen if we had 25% less of our staff or 50% less of our staff,” he said.

“So at this time I can absolutely assure you that we are taking the best of care of our healthcare workers and we are also maintain absolutely full readiness of the GHA even with a reduction in number and we will continue to do so with all the staff that have come to support and help us and with all of our contingency plans in place.”

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