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TG welcomes exit strategy document, raises some suggestions

Together Gibraltar welcomed the Government’s Unlock the Rock document, describing it as a guide to what Gibraltarians “must do to minimise risks while living with the virus”.

The party added that Gibraltarians will have to take a significant part of the responsibility in managing life with the virus, adding it considers it to have the markings of a solid pathway for the community “so long as the plan is implemented as detailed”.

But the party also raised several issues with the Government, and recommended a phased closure of Line Wall Road, Chatham Counterguard and Europort Avenue to minimise disruptions.

Meanwhile it also called for more clarity on the regulations for social distancing, adding that there was a “degree of confusion and improvisation” on beach regulations that could have been avoided.

“We appreciate the Governments attempts to continue suppressing the virus, and the clear and definitive move away from herd immunity calculations,” Together Gibraltar yesterday said in a statement.

The party’s main concern is the plan for citizens to progressively self-regulate, adding that this is a policy which puts the onus entirely on individuals, and therefore provides few guarantees of success.

“We believe it is a misconception to consider social distancing measures something pertaining to the sphere of personal freedoms,” Together Gibraltar said.

“Under the new reality, limits to mobility and socialisation are in place not only to protect the individuals, but to protect the wider society from irresponsible individuals, in a fight against a virus that is more threatening the more people are infected.” “Badly implemented social distancing is not something that affects one’s health alone, but many others, and this is why we believe that, despite the strain this places on our law enforcement services, a degree of enforcement is necessary.”

“We are already seeing people flaunting the rules all over Gibraltar, and this is terribly unfair to those who obey the rules rigorously.”

“We also believe that, almost as important as having rules based in solid science, it is important to make rules that are clear and simple,” Together Gibraltar said, calling for more clarity.

“We have seen a degree of confusion and improvisation regarding beach regulations in the last days which should be avoided.”

Mask use, for example, is an area which would benefit from more clarity, the party said.

Together Gibraltar said that if the science is pointing more and more to the efficacy of using surgical masks in public, particularly indoors, then there should be a blanket regulation mandating the use of surgical masks in all indoor areas, while allowing for exceptions for those unable to comply.

The party said the Government should provide support in ensuring these are available to all businesses and indoor public spaces.

Together Gibraltar said the Government’s increased plans for testing, contact tracing and antibody testing, mirrors what it has been calling for since over a month ago, alongside a phased reopening with clear public health guidelines for re-closure.

Following on from several representations from constituents waiting for operations to resume, Together Gibraltar also said it welcomes the Government’s intentions for regular clinical and surgical business to resume in the GHA.

It called on the Government to honour this commitment “as a matter of extreme priority”, given the backlog that patients have endured as a result of the Covid restructuring, and the consequences that can have on their long-term health.

The party said it welcomes the “novel environmental measure” of plans for the closure of Line Wall Road, Chatham Counterguard and Europort Avenue, inspired by its sustainable transport plan in its election manifesto.

“We look forward to consulting with Transport Minister, Vijay Daryanani, in the hope that the many logistical challenges can be planned for effectively, and that we can minimise the potential negative impacts of this bold change,” the party said.

“We are aware of the short space of time in which these new measures will be implemented and the potential short to medium term inconveniences they can cause, so we recommend a phased approach while the necessary new infrastructure is being laid out, for best results, and stand available to provide input as per our own manifesto commitment which sets out a cohesive and long term strategy for this policy.”