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New measures introduced to prevent coronavirus spread in GHA and ERS

Pic: Johnny Bugeja

Precautionary measures have been implemented by the Gibraltar Health Authority and Elderly Residential Services to prevent the spread of coronavirus to vulnerable elderly patients.
The Gibraltar Government announced “strict visitor restrictions” today across the GHA and ERS, as it plans for the “worst case scenario”.
The new measure will see only one visitor allowed per patient at any given time.
In a statement the government added visitors will be asked to wash their hands carefully using soap and water or sanitising gel before having direct contact with a patient or resident, and again before they leave.
The government is preparing a specific protocol for Bishop Canilla House, Charles Bruzon House, Sea Master Lodge and Albert Risso House.
“In the meantime, if you are over 70 there are things you can do to keep yourself safe: wash your hands regularly and limit your direct contact with others,” the government said.
The government confirmed there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gibraltar, and all tests have returned negative.
“Due to the rapid global spread of the virus, all evidence indicates that we can soon expect cases in Gibraltar,” the government said.
The evidence currently available indicates that the elderly, over the age of 70 years, who often have existing medical conditions will suffer the worst effects of COVID-19.
In order to protect these vulnerable groups, the focus of the GHA’s planning has now moved to the prevention of the spread of germs to patients at St Bernard’s Hospital and users of the Elderly Residential Services.
“Washing hands and avoiding close contact like hugs and kisses and shaking hands is the best way to protect loved ones, especially the elderly and the sick, from the spread of infections,” Director of Public Health Dr Sohail Bhatti said.
“It is also important to really consider whether your loved ones will be better off in the long run if you do not visit them, but show them your love and care by phoning them instead.”
The government added it is continuing to follow the best advice of Public Health professionals to prevent and lessen the spread of infections. Gibraltar is planning for the worst-case scenario, which we don’t believe will happen, but we must be ready in case it does.