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GSD again pushes for hospital visits for those without vaccines

St Bernard's Hospital. Photo by Eyleen Gomez

The GSD said the Gibraltar Government was failing to hear the voice of people who are unable to visit relatives in hospital or elderly care because they have not been vaccinated.

Current Covid rules mean only people who have been jabbed can visit loved ones in St Bernard’s Hospital or ERS facilities.

The Government said earlier this week that this was to safeguard the safety of all patients in those facilities.

But the GSD said it continued to hear from families concerned that they were not allowed to visit their loved ones because of this “blanket policy”.

“This is a new public health requirement,” the party said.

“It was not a requirement before.”

“It operates unfairly to exclude unvaccinated people from seeing their loved ones.”

“Those people are happy to submit to Covid tests and to wear PPE or take other precautions.”

“Surely it is the negative covid test which is the most important measure?”

The Government had raised Gibraltar’s Covid death toll as it explained its policy earlier this week but the Opposition said this was “a red herring” and a “repugnant” move to play on people’s emotions and distract from the core issue.

Many of the persons who died were residents of ERS and were infected during the outbreak in late December.

“The unfortunate fact is that we now know that members of staff were not being tested on a daily basis till 29 December 2020 when the vaccination programme had not even started,” the GSD said.

“We know 148 staff members tested positive after 1 December as did 131 residents of ERS.”

“ERS was only open for six days for visitors in mid-December.”

“If the concern was putting in place the tightest measures possible why weren’t staff members swabbed daily in November or when ERS reopened?”

“Why wait till it was too late?”

“And why does the Government not see the contradiction in the fact that there are unvaccinated members of staff?”

The GSD said that given the vaccination programme and the daily testing of staff and visitors now, the risk of contracting the virus was much lower.

It pointed to the fact there were no resident cases in Gibraltar.

Against that backdrop, it said ways could be found to allow “unvaccinated but tested” individuals to see their loved ones in hospital and ERS.

“That is the measured position of the GSD,” the party added.

“The defensive response of the Government is nothing more than a smokescreen.”

“How can the Government call the Opposition irresponsible when the Government itself were operating a looser system last year when most of us we were not vaccinated?”

“Was it irresponsible during the time they had sanctioned that system or for them not to have arranged daily swabs of staff?”

“The reality is that this is just no more than an attempt to undermine what is a measured call for people to be heard and for ways to be explored to help them.”

“The Government have closed their minds for political reasons and that is affecting people and giving families unnecessary anxiety.”

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