Gibraltar to go on Lockdown effective from Midnight next Tuesday due to Coronavirus

FOLLOWING a Cabinet Meeting today (Sunday March 22), Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo announced that Gibraltar would go into a form of lockdown at midnight on Tuesday March 24.

He has spoken to the Spanish Interior Minister, Fernando Grande Marlaska and both agree that it is important to keep the border open to allow workers to continue to enter Gibraltar and return to Spain, but many areas of work will be closed.

Supermarkets, grocery shops and pharmacies may remain open and restaurants may continue to supply food on a takeaway basis, but all construction work will be closed unless specifically allowed to continue by the Chief Technical Officer and gyms will also be closed.

A provision is to be introduced into law whereby employment may be suspended rather than individuals being dismissed and this, once passed, is likely to allow certain workers living in Spain to apply for assistance from the Spanish Social Security department.

It will still be possible for individuals to go outside for exercise or to take their children out to the parks but they must be careful not to stay in public for too long and must observe rules of social distancing and they should act with similar awareness when shopping.

Offices will close to the public and staff are recommended to work online from home, but some may remain operating with skeleton staff in order to allow the online functions to operate or to undertake key activities.

The Royal Gibraltar Police will be given the power to stop anyone to check that they have a valid reason for being on the street and to send them home, but at this stage there is no intention of bringing in members of the armed forces to assist except in helping to transport necessary goods and material for example to hospital.

A number of agency nurses will shortly arrive on the Rock and there have been 15 cases of Covid-19 identified of which five people have already recovered, five are near to recovery and five are still in danger, of which just two have been admitted to St Bernard’s Hospital which has 100 beds available.

This lockdown is due to last for 30 days, but the Chief Minister who said this is “the hardest decision taken in my political career so far” did confirm that cabinet would meet every 48 hours and would review the measures if medical and scientific advice suggested that this would be in order.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Share your story with us by emailing [email protected], by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page www.facebook.com/EuroWeeklyNews

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