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Govt advises public to avoid large gatherings due to virus concerns

Archive photo of Main Street. Pic: Johnny Bugeja

The Gibraltar Government has advised people to avoid large gatherings, after a person tested positive with coronavirus in Gibraltar earlier this week.
The government is confident Gibraltar is “as ready as possible for the impact of the virus”, adding that the Covid-19 Co-ordinating Group has been preparing contingencies for seven weeks.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo chaired a meeting of this group for the second time today, which allowed representatives from Government departments, healthcare providers and emergency services to reassess the situation in light of the detection of a patient with coronavirus.
“Upon the advice of our Public Health experts, we took the decision to advise the public to avoid places where large groups of people might gather,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
“This is part of the Government’s current strategy to increase the social distances between individuals to try to stop the spread of germs.”
“We can all do our bit to protect ourselves and our families. Remember, wash your hands and if you feel unwell, please don’t put yourself or others at risk. Go home and call 111. A team of dedicated Public Health professionals will help you.”
The Co-ordinating Group reviewed and refined existing plans yesterday and took the decision to advise members of the public to avoid large public gatherings where possible.
“Schools will remain open as normal because children are not badly affected by Covid-19,” the government said.
The Government will decide whether to go ahead with scheduled Government events on a case-by-case basis and continues to take the advice of our Public Health professionals and the situation is under constant review.

WORLD BOOK DAY
Some of today’s World Book Day events have been cancelled, in particular those which senior citizens were expected to attend.
As coronavirus symptoms tend to be mild in children, the measures are largely to protect adults and the most senior members in this community.
The school visits to John Mackintosh Hall for World Book Day will continue as planned today, as will the events held in the schools.
Performances by The White Light Company and JF Dance as well as the Story Telling sessions at the Library scheduled as from 4.30pm are all cancelled.
The cancellations follow recommendations by the Director of Public Health and the COVID-19 Co-ordinating Group, that public gatherings and events where crowds of adults, especially of senior citizens, might congregate should be discouraged.
“We understand that this may be inconvenient and frustrating but our main concern and focus is to safeguard the wellbeing of the community,” the Government said in a statement.

EXERCISE
The Gibraltar Health Authority held a planned coronavirus preparedness exercise again today, to practice patient transfer.
The GHA is held exercises over the past seven weeks where Ambulance staff dressed in personal protective equipment practice how to transfer a patient to the hospital.
“Repeat practices ensure that all staff are thoroughly prepared and the procedure is streamlined, and ready in case it is ever needed,” a government spokesman said.

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