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Govt publishes new guidance for private events this festive period

Archive Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

The Gibraltar Government has published a risk assessment for those organising, attending or hosting private events in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Infections of Covid-19 have sharply risen this month, with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo warning the public should follow Public Health Guidance in order to avoid another lockdown.

The Government the guidance published this morning for events includes limiting the number of people allowed in a venue, assessing attendees vaccination status, spacing of seats, using a symptom checker and ensuring the room has appropriate ventilation.

“We want to avoid having to provide for any lock down in the coming weeks and months," Mr Picardo said.

"To do that, we need the support of each member of the community."

"We really need to see people following guidance and in particular we need people to take up the offer of the Booster Jab as soon as they are offered it."

"People can see the numbers of cases rising throughout Europe and lockdowns taking effect throughout the continent. Here although cases are rising, hospitalisations are currently low."

"We need to keep it that way, but if numbers continue to rise exponentially, we may see numbers in hospital grow too."

"I genuinely believe these are the last throes of the pandemic, but it will not be over completely for some time now and we cannot relax completely until then. I therefore implore the public to follow the advice from Public Health Gibraltar.”

A statement from No6 Convent Place said that despite the Covid-19 vaccine preventing the majority of hospitalisations and severe disease, the evidence obtained shows that of the positive cases Gibraltar has had over the last three weeks, less than 5% were in individuals with no symptoms.

This means the majority of positive cases have had Covid symptoms.

"Members of the public are therefore urged not to attend events or functions if they have any Covid symptoms, even mild ones," the Government said.

The Director for Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, has provided reviewed guidance in order to support and reduce the uncertainty for those hosting private events and functions.

"Ventilation and duration of contact are the two main factors that determine the risk of Covid-19 infection," the Government said.

"The main concern is related to crowded indoor events, which are assessed to be of a higher risk."

Dr Carter has strongly advised the public to consider limiting numbers appropriate to the venue and adopting a precautionary approach this side of the festive period.

She advised when holding a private event, organisers should carry out a risk assessment which captures the following: The current epidemiological situation, the number of people attending, the vaccination status of attendees, format of the event and ventilation.

Further guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/3Ft6PCg

Dr Carter will continue to review the epidemical situation and the guidance provided could be amended based on the circumstances faced.

"As the booster programme continues to be rolled out it is expected that Gibraltar will see a decrease in the number of positive cases, which might allow this guidance to be further reviewed," the Government said.

Dr Carter has asked the public to please consider the guidance provided when holding or attending an event.

"It is important that we all work together in trying to minimise the impact of the pandemic in the build-up and during the festive period, whilst still allowing people to enjoy themselves," she said.

"Please help to limit the impact of the pandemic in our community. When offered the booster, please take up the offer.”

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