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More restrictions to be announced as Covid cases soar to new high

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo will be announcing further restrictions and encouraged parents not to take their children to school after Covid-19 cases have soared in Gibraltar with 169 active cases reported on Sunday.
Mr Picardo tweeted the restrictions will be announced on 3.30pm on Monday in Parliament and he will make a statement on further Covid-19 restrictions and arrangements for the Christmas period.
On Sunday the Government also encouraged parents not to send their children to school to Monday and Tuesday and to keep them home instead.
"Schools will be open for those children whose parents cannot make alternative arrangements," the Government said.
"There will be no formal teaching and all Christmas parties are cancelled."
"Parents are reminded that the purpose of this is to reduce contact, and therefore children should stay with their family bubbles and not congregate in parks, etc."
"Close contact with elderly grandparents should also be avoided."
"The Government regrets having to issue this advice, and is grateful to the teachers, who will be
attending in order to provide supervision in these exceptional circumstances."
Following the news that 33 new cases were detected overnight, Mr Picardo called the increase “concerning”.
He added the Government must act to “arrest the growth” and reminded the public to be “prudent and careful making arrangements for Christmas.”
The Contact Tracing Bureau is grappling with the influx of cases and is still phoning people who need to isolate.
The latest overnight increase of 33 positive cases is based on just 473 test results, a lower overnight number of tests than usual.
Normally, over 1,000 test results are delivered daily. That suggests that, had the usual number of tests been delivered, the latest number of new active cases would in fact be higher.
In a press statement, No6 Convent Place told the public to stay at home and wait for a phone call if they are aware of any close contact if a positive person over the past 48 hours.
This comes as cases have risen sharply from 37 active cases last Sunday, to 169 today, marking more than a four-fold increase.
There are currently 1027 people in self-isolation, but this is expected to climb as the CTB continues to phone close contacts.
“Members of the public are reminded that as the number of cases rise, so do the number of close contacts having to isolate as advised by the Contact Tracing Bureau,” the Government said.
“If you have been deemed a close contact at school, work, or you are aware that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 48hrs before, please isolate and wait for a call from the CTB.”
“You will required to isolate for a total of 10 days. Anyone asked to self-isolate must not leave home and should not attempt to be tested during this time.”
“It is important that members of the public do not attend the Drive Through for an early swab as it is likely that you will still be in the incubation phase and this could result in a false negative result, even though the individual may be infected.”
“The Contact Tracing Bureau will advise if and when testing for contacts is necessary. In most circumstances, contacts will be asked to undertake a test at the Drive Through testing station on the 10th day.”
“If anyone isolating has not received the day 10 Drive Through appointment they are asked to contact 111.”
“In the event that anyone asked to isolate develops Covid-19 symptoms at any time, they are asked to contact 111 immediately.”
“The general public are reminded to stay home and protect others by stopping the spread of the virus.”
There are currently two positive cases in the Covid-19 ward and 27 test results pending.
Of the 169 cases, 164 are residents and five are visitors.
From the 30 new resident cases in Gibraltar detected on Sunday, 20 were close contacts of existing active cases.
Since the pandemic began 109,111 tests have been carried out and there have been 1,244 confirmed cases.
A total of 26,558 tests have been carried out so far in the frontline, targeted and systematic sampling.

UPDATE: This article was updated at 14.45 to reflect the Government's advice in regards to schools.

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