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GSD says Govt’s hospital visitation policy creates unvaccinated ‘social outcasts’

The Gibraltar Government’s decision to stop unvaccinated people from visiting relatives in hospital or elderly care risks creating a group of “social outcasts” at a time when the risk of infection is low, the GSD said on Monday.

The GSD has repeatedly called on the government to review its decision and find ways of providing safe access to people who have not been jabbed but wish to visit relatives in care.

The government has insisted it is protecting the most vulnerable in the community and that most people with relatives in hospital or ERS have welcomed the move.

For the GSD, this is “a political numbers game” that ignores the rights or wishes of all families or individuals.

“As they have apparently calculated that the issue of unvaccinated individuals visiting their family members in hospital or ERS affects a minority of individuals they are shutting their eyes to the problem and are abandoning the pleas for help by those individuals,” the party said in a statement.

By insisting on vaccination, a group of citizens “are left behind” and their rights are affected.

At a time when there are no resident Covid-19 infections on the Rock, that “cannot be right as a matter of principle,” the GSD said.

The GSD said people who have not been jabbed should perhaps be asked to take additional precautions or to visit family members in separate premises, but not barred completely and indefinitely.

“This does not make sense when the risks are – so far – evidently lower than when there was no vaccination programme,” the party said.

It contrasted the vaccine requirement for visitors to hospital or ERS facilities with the government “triumphantly heralding” Gibraltar as a tourism destination for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals after May 17, when the UK is expected to make an announcement on lifting travel restrictions to certain places.

The Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, said: “It stands to reason against the current Covid backdrop that ways could be found to allow families to see their loved ones.”

“It is not right in a society where the rights of the majority have been restored to create a group of social outcasts who are prevented from seeing their loved ones.”

“We could well understand that this would be impossible if the Covid situation was different in Gibraltar. But it is not.”

“The truth is that residents at ERS or hospital patients are as likely to be at risk from unvaccinated members of staff entering the premises as they are with unvaccinated family members.”

“Presumably there are unvaccinated members of the public who are also entering the hospital premises for outpatient treatment.”

“If that is the case what is the difference?”

“And would there not be higher methods of control of unvaccinated visitors by requiring them to take a Covid test than unvaccinated individuals entering hospital for outpatient consultations who do not receive a Covid test?”

“As the contradictions are rife the Government should review the issue.”

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