GSD calls for lockdown to be extended
The GSD has called on the Gibraltar Government to extend the current social lockdown for at least another 10 days.
In a press statement, Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, said the number of Covid-19 cases had still not stabilised and restrictions should not be loosened until cases reduce.
Hours later, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo tweeted he would be making a statement on Friday at 3pm in Parliament on continuing Covid restrictions.
“The general growth in numbers in the community is likely to be a lag from social interaction during Christmas and New Year and we would hope that with a further period of control numbers will come down,” Mr Azopardi said.
“That should then allow the gradual release of restrictions which we hope can happen as soon as possible towards the end of January.”
“But it is first important to bring these numbers down and get better control of the growing pressure on the health service.”
Mr Azopardi noted there has been a dip in growth of new positive cases, with the daily average of new positive cases in the first week of January being 102, then dropping to 84 a week later.
But added that the number of total hospitalisations has grown from 20 on January 1 to 46 on Thursday.
“Worryingly the cases in ERS have shot up from 9 on 1 January to 116 [on Wednesday],” Mr Azopardi said.
“Management there needs to consider how the spread there has been so vast in such a small period despite the stringent controls in place at ERS.”
He added that the vaccination campaign, which is currently seeing frontline workers and over-70s inoculated with a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, will soon take effect.
“The fact that within a few days more than 5000 of the most vulnerable or exposed people in our community will have been vaccinated will also play its part in leading to a programmed lift of restrictions (tempered with strong advice), the opening of schools and some of the businesses forced to close,” he said.
“It emphasises the importance of Government procuring a further shipment of vaccines as soon as possible.”
“For now, however, the lockdown should continue in place.”
“We are grateful for the efforts of the health service and other essential workers during this period.”