Govt announces changes to self-isolation rules
The Gibraltar Government has today announced changes to the rules on self-isolation for close contacts of Covid-19 positive cases, which will mean fully vaccinated contacts will not need to isolate.
The Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, advised the changes will come into effect as from 00.01 on Thursday, December 23.
"Close contacts who have had two doses of the Covid- 19 vaccine or more will not need to self-isolate," the Government said.
"This is regardless of the variant of the Covid-19 positive case."
However, confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 are required to self-isolate for 10 days.
The new rules for Covid-19 self-isolation for close contacts are:
• If you are double vaccinated and had a booster more than 14 days ago you don’t need to self-isolate. You are required to wear a mask in public, limit your social mixing for 10 days and must report any symptoms to 111 as soon as they develop.
• If you are double vaccinated and had a booster less than 14 days ago or haven’t had a booster you don’t need to self-isolate butif you choose notto do so you are required to take a daily lateral flow test. Please report to the Mid Town drive through during opening hours every day to take a test. You can otherwise go about your normal day but must wear a mask in public, limit your social mixing for 10 days and report any symptoms to 111 as soon as they develop. Cross-frontier workers in this category should only report for daily testing if they are working on that day.
• If you are not vaccinated or have only had 1 dose you are required to self-isolate for 10 days. You will only need to take a test if you develop symptoms. If you notice any symptoms, even mild ones, call 111 immediately to arrange a test appointment.
• Health or social care workers will be risk assessed on an individual basis.
• If you have been positive forCOVID-19 in the 90 days before becoming a close contact you are not required to self-isolate, regardless of your vaccination status. This is because you will have natural immunity to the virus.
• If you are under 18 years old and in fulltime education in Gibraltar you do not need to self-isolate, regardless of your vaccination status.
"These changes to the self-isolation policy allow double vaccinated close contacts to not have to self-isolate, regardless of the strain of the positive case," Dr Carter said.
"This is based on the evidence that both Delta and Omicron are spreading within the community and that Omicron is not leading to an increase in hospitalisations, with most positive Omicron cases only experiencing mild disease so far."
"This increased flexibility in the self-isolation policy for close contacts reduces the disruption to normal daily life and is a further stepping-stone as we learn from our experiences and move towards living with the virus."
"Any member of the public who notices any symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, should call 111 immediately to arrange an appointment for a test," the Government added.
"Please do not attend the Mid Town Drive Through without an appointment unless you are a close contact requiring a daily test."
The Mid Town Drive Through will be closed on December 25 and January 1. Close contacts requiring a daily test should not report for testing on these days.
"The best way to protect yourself from all strains of Covid-19 is to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible," the Government said.
The Minister for Health, Samantha Sacramento, encouraged the public to get vaccinated.
"These changes in policy allow all close contacts to clearly understand what is required of them," she said.
"The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from all strains this festive season is to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible."
The vaccine centre will next open on December 29 and vaccinations will be by appointment only.
To make an appointment for December 29 call 200 66966 by midday on December 24.
The vaccine centre will resume regular evening clinics on January 6, 2022 with advance bookings commencing as from 9am on January 4, 2022.
The Government advised the public to call 200 66966 to arrange a vaccine appointment or register their interest online: First or second dose - https://www.gha.gi/registration-for-anyone-over-the-age-of-16/ Booster - https://www.gha.gi/pfizerbooster/
This article has been updated to clarify the new rules.