Govt bans all non-essential business travel
The Gibraltar Government has issued a circular to civil servants imposing a ban on all non-essential business travel with recommendations to cancel personal travel to at-risk countries, as part of new precautionary measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The regulations signed by the Chief Secretary apply to all government employees, and recommends all government employees to consider cancelling or postponing personal travel arrangements to the at-risk countries “throughout the year 2020”.
The circular added: “The Chief Secretary reserves the option to cancel existing Annual Leave arrangements across the Public Service, where appropriate, based on operational requirements.”
Essential government travel may still proceed as long as not to or via an at-risk country, the circular read.
The travel must be “critical for the interests” of the government to proceed, and Heads of Department have been encouraged to assist the Chief Secretary with the “redeployment of staff and/or resources” if required.
“These are essential steps as we continue to take the best expert advice to protect our people for as long as possible,” Chief Minister Fabian Picardo tweeted earlier today.
These regulations also require any civil servants and all other public officers who have left any of the at-risk countries within 14 days of arrival to Gibraltar to report themselves to the Borders and Coastguard Agency at the land border or airport, and the Gibraltar Port Authority if arriving by sea at the point of entry into Gibraltar.
The circular adds that anyone arriving in Gibraltar within 14 days of their departure from an at-risk country may be refused entry into Gibraltar, detained for the purposes of screening, assessment or for the imposition of any other restriction, or kept in isolation for the purposes of reducing or removing the risk of infecting or contaminating others.
“Any officer refused entry into Gibraltar, detained or isolated must inform their respective Head of Department of any refusal of entry into Gibraltar, detention or isolation under the Regulations,” the circular read.
It added: “All persons to which this Circular applies will be required to take up to 14 days’ Certified Sick Leave to cover the period of self-isolation conditions under the Regulations.”
“Heads of Department should be informed and will record the period of self-isolation as Certified Sick Leave on the officer’s record (without requiring a medical note – as an exceptional case), in consultation with the relevant Human Resources Manager. However, if an officer is travelling in a country that unexpectedly changes to an ‘at-risk’ designation during that time, Special Paid Leave might be given to cover the required isolation period.”
The list of at-risk countries currently includes: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.