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Junta restricts movement between Campo municipalities as Covid cases jump

The Junta de Andalucia will reintroduce restrictions on movement between municipalities in the Campo de Gibraltar following a spike in Covid-19 infections, particularly in La Linea, and amid mounting concern about the surge in cases in Gibraltar.

Data shows the Campo currently has an infection rate of 316 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, more than double the average of 140 per 100,000 in the rest of Andalucia.

“Within that data, something that worries us a lot is that the Rock of Gibraltar, according to British authorities, has an accumulated rate of over 2000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days,” said Jesus Aguirre, who is responsible for health at the Junta de Andalucia, the regional government.

“That’s a very high figure and where the predominant strain is the British variant.”

Mr Aguirre did not explain on what he had based his refence to the UK strain, given the Gibraltar Government has said that while it is “likely” that it is behind the surge in numbers, there is no confirmation of this as yet.

But Mr Aguirre said Spanish health staff had confirmed that the UK variant was present in the Campo de Gibraltar, adding: “That is why we have to take a series of measures to prevent [spread] and establish a containment wall so that this strain does not extend rapidly throughout the rest of the Andalusian autonomous community.”

The measure, expected to come into force at midnight on Saturday, means travel between municipalities will be prohibited except for essential reasons such as work or medical appointments.

The move, announced by the Junta in a statement, comes as Gibraltar announced a full lockdown as from 10pm on Saturday night.

Movement will only be allowed in Gibraltar for essential reasons such as shopping or medical appointments, or for exercise.

In announcing Gibraltar’s lockdown, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said movement across the border would only be allowed for essential reasons or for those with homes there. Shopping in La Linea, he said, did not fall into the exempted criteria.

In any event, anyone crossing into Spain will have to demonstrate justified reasons to cross not just the border, but La Linea’s municipal boundary.

The Junta said it had detected seven cases of the UK Covid-19 strain and that it would carry out genome sequencing on any new cases that were linked to either the UK or Gibraltar.

The regulation to bring the restrictions into place in the Campo has yet to be published in Andalucia’s official gazette.

In parallel, the Junta is carrying out random sampling in the Campo to assess the asymptomatic spread of infection ansd will step up efforts to vaccinate the elderly and vulnerable, as well as healthcare staff.

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