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Govt issues advice to strengthen virus precautions for elderly

Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The Gibraltar Government on Friday issued new advice aimed at protecting the elderly from the Covid-19 virus, as it confirmed there are currently 63 people in self-isolation in Gibraltar.

So far only one case of coronavirus has been detected in Gibraltar, with a total of 37 people tested for the virus but showing negative results.

Another 13 results are still pending and only people with symptoms are being tested.

The latest updates came as the number of cases of Covid-19 increased around the world, including in Spain and the UK.

Spanish authorities said on Friday that some 374 people had been detected with the virus, while the number of people testing positive in the UK rose to 163.

Spain has reported six deaths in which the virus was detected, although all involved older patients with underlying conditions. In the UK, a woman in her 70s also died while in hospital.

On Friday the Gibraltar Government issued new advice to the elderly and those most at risk, with signs posted in residential homes including Albert Risso House.

The new Covid-19 virus can cause more severe symptoms in people with a weakened immune system such as those suffering from cancer, or are on special medication, and older people generally over the age of 70, especially those with long term conditions like heart disease, poorly controlled diabetes, poorly managed blood pressure and chronic lung disease.

“If you fall into any of these categories, you should now take extra steps to protect yourself from germs and infections,” the government said.

The Department of Public Health recommends people to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and to use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

The Chronicle has filmed a GHA demonstration of how to properly wash your hands, the video can be seen on our social media pages.

Public Health Gibraltar also recommends people to always carry tissues and use them to catch coughs or sneezes. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.

“Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.”

Further advice includes keep surfaces at home clean, and wiping them down using detergents regularly.

Public Health Gibraltar reminds people not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, not to smoke and avoid second hand smoke.

“This will greatly improve your lung health,” the government said.

“If you are a current smoker, consider quitting or switching to vaping, which contains fewer poisonous ingredients.”

“Don’t give kisses or hugs or shake anybody’s hand. It is especially important that you avoid direct contact with children. Ask your relatives and friends not to visit you for the time being, and to phone or have video calls via WhatsApp, Facebook or FaceTime to keep in touch.”

“Don’t go to large public gatherings.”

“Don’t attend the Primary Care Centre or hospital in person. If you need medical support or advice, please call 20052441 or 20072355. Avoid public transport.”

“It is important to emphasise that the above is based on the advice given by public health professionals, whose sole objective is to protect the best interests of the most vulnerable members of our community in the face of COVID-19.”

RISK UPDATE

In a separate development, the Gibraltar Government added the whole of Italy to its list of risk countries.

This means all travellers returning to Gibraltar from Italy must report to authorities upon arrival and self-isolate for a period of two weeks.

Transit through any of the listed countries is also covered by the regulations.

The list of at-risk countries now includes: China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Iran, Italy, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

“Travel to these countries is not recommended, even for transit purposes,” the government said in a statement.

Travellers who are currently in one of the at-risk countries listed above should report, as soon as possible and ahead of your return to Gibraltar, using the email address coronavirus@gha.gi, with the subject line: self-isolation.

Travellers will be contacted by a Public Health professional who will advise them on the best way to protect yourself and others.

JURORS

The Supreme Court yesterday announced the number of potential jurors to be summonsed will be reduced after advice from Public Health Gibraltar.

Concerns over coronavirus has seen a number of public events and gatherings cancelled or closed off.

Jury service will continue as normal, but the changes will see less than 100 prospective jurors waiting outside the Supreme Court.

“Acting upon the advice of Public Health Gibraltar, and as part of the effort to avoid large public gatherings, the Chief Justice has directed that the number of prospective jurors summonsed to attend the Supreme Court will be reduced, so that the total number of persons in the public areas does not exceed 100,” the Supreme Court said in a statement.

As part of that process, persons who have been summonsed for jury duty may be contacted by the Supreme Court Registry and informed that they are not required to attend.

Unless contacted, persons summonsed should attend in the usual way.

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