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Govt confirms ‘community transmission’ of Omicron variant

Queues outside the Midtown testing centre earlier this week. Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

The Gibraltar Government confirmed on Wednesday that there is now community transmission of the Omicron variant.

That means that the Contact Tracing Bureau [CTB] has detected cases of the variant in people who have had no known contact with a person infected with the virus, or through routine random sampling.

In effect, it means there are Omicron cases in which the CTB is unable to identify the source of infection, making it hard to track and trace cases to minimise spread.

On Wednesday, the number of cases of the Omicron variant rose to 88, up 18 cases from the previous day.

There were 52 new cases reported on Wednesday too bringing the total active cases to 388, including people infected with the Delta variant that has dominated to date.

Of the 41 new cases, 13 were close contacts of an existing active case.

A further 531 people were in self isolation.

Despite the high number of cases though, hospitalisation remains low.

There were two people in the Covid-19 ward at St Bernard’s Hospital and one in the critical care unit.

In another development, the Gibraltar Government announced it had removed all countries from its red list for international travel, effective from December 23.

“This decision has been taken in light of the advice of the Director of Public Health that there is now community transmission of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Gibraltar,” No.6 Convent Place said.

All passengers aged 12 and over arriving in Gibraltar by air are required to take a lateral flow test on the day of arrival and are required by law to self-isolate until a negative test result has been received.

“Failure to comply is in breach of regulations and carries a penalty of £300,” No.6 added.

The Covid-19 Rapid Test facility at the Airport is open from 8am to 9pm daily.

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