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Seafarer in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19

A seafarer who flew to Gibraltar to join a ship has been isolated at the Retreat Centre in Gibraltar after testing positive for Covid-19.

The seafarer was tested on arrival as a matter of routine, in line with public health protocols applicable to the maritime sector.

He was showing none of the symptoms associated with Covid-19 and told officials he felt normal.

But when the swab results came through, they showed he was an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.

Including the seafarer, there are currently three active cases of Covid-19 in Gibraltar. A fourth case involving a cross-border worker was detected in Gibraltar but the person is in self-isolation in Spain.

So far since the beginning of the pandemic, 180 cases have been detected in Gibraltar.

There are currently 55 people in self-isolation as a precautionary measure and 12 test results are pending.

A total of 15,495 tests have been carried out since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest data issued by the Gibraltar Government.

On Thursday, representatives from the maritime sector were reminded of the public health protocols that are applicable to the sector and must be strictly adhered to in order to protect the community from any potential spread of infection, while also allowing the industry to continue functioning.

Gibraltar, one of the few ports in Europe that maintained air links through the lockdown period, has played an important role as a hub from which shipping companies including cruise lines were able to make crew changes and repatriate personnel, as well as resupply vessels with fuel and vital supplies.

Earlier this week, four Filipino seafarers were placed in isolation at the Retreat Centre in Gibraltar over Covid-19 concerns after their fellow crewmen tested positive for the virus when their ship arrived in Algeciras.

The four crewmen were disembarked from the chemical carrier Samus Swan as it sailed to the Spanish port and have since been tested in Gibraltar, where the results proved negative.

They were due to fly from Gibraltar because they did not possess the necessary visas to enter Spain.

But given the developments in Algeciras, public health authorities in Gibraltar opted for caution and will require the four seafarers to remain in isolation for several days, after which they will be tested again.