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GSD calls for increased vigilance for virus measures

Hand sanitisers at the entrance to the QEII Centre in London. Photo: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The GSD has called on the Government to increase coronavirus measures to include “vigilance and monitoring all entry points to Gibraltar”.

The GSD added Gibraltar needs a “consistent and transparent process” at the border to ensure frontier fluidity while also prioritising “health of the country”.

The Gibraltar Government yesterday replied stating this was “not an issue for partisan divisions”, adding that it is willing to hear concerns from all Opposition MPs.

The government added, where possible, parliamentarians would be briefed as appropriate, and they would “continue acting on the advice of Public Health professionals and supporting the excellent GHA staff in dealing with the issues that Covid-19 raises”.

The GSD said it will ask Government to brief the Opposition on the measures it has in place to “combat community transmission and its consequences as well as the measures it has deployed at the land, airport and port to properly identify suspected cases”.

“Everyone in our community has a duty and obligation to comply with all health protocols and it is important to prepare and plan for the worst-case scenario without paralysing our community,” the GSD said.

The GSD said that while travel restrictions and self-isolation when arriving from identified at risk countries made a lot of sense when the Government introduced emergency regulations some weeks ago, the reality now is that as the virus has spread to Europe.

The number of cases in many European countries - where there are no travel restrictions - have far surpassed the number of cases in some of the Asian countries where there are restrictions, the GSD added.

The GSD said it is not calling for travel restrictions to be widened as it is important to keep border entry as fluid as possible, but it adds that “the reality now is that having a policy that prioritises self-isolation or testing from predominantly Asian countries will no longer provide a robust containment or mitigation strategy”.

“The Government therefore needs to consider how it responds to this developing panorama,” the party said.

Shadow Minister for Health, Elliott Phillips, said: “We are a small and densely populated community and it is even more important that we use all resources at our disposal to ensure that we identify those who may have symptoms having travelled to at-risk countries.”

“Many European countries are experiencing community transmission because the virus knows no boundaries or borders.”

“While we must not paralyse our movement across our borders, we must ensure that all measures that are recommended by the GHA and other internationally recognised health organisations are strictly adhered to in order to avoid an outbreak in our community.”

“We call on the Government to share the advice it has received as to the risk level and all recommended measures to combat the virus with the Opposition.”

The party said it is important to keep things in active review to ensure support systems are robust in case of an outbreak and that the consequences of any wider outbreak can be dealt with.

Meanwhile it prioritises regular and updated information to vulnerable people such as those who are immunologically compromised such as those undergoing cancer treatment, pregnant women and people interacting with the health service daily.

“The Government therefore needs to consider how it responds to this developing panorama,” the party said.