Gibraltar cancels Christmas festivities despite 99% vaccination rate

Gibraltar, Falklands and Cayman Islands among 39 British places competing for official city status

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The British territory of Gibraltar has taken radical measures to prevent a large winter spike in coronavirus cases by cancelling the official festivities for the Christmas period. The move has puzzled many who live in the area as Gibraltar’s vaccination rate is close to 100%. 

With almost all of its population fully vaccinated it would seem that the authorities could take a calm and measured approach to the mix of the oncoming festive season and the next wave of Covid-19. However, in an official statement, the British enclave has decided to have “the intention to cancel […] a number of official Christmas celebrations, official receptions and similar gatherings” over the end of the year. 

They have put forward an argument that the steady increase of positive cases over the last month is continuing and has gained speed in recent days. “There are 359 active cases of Covid-19 in Gibraltar (published 12 November), 57 new cases today (from 11 November), 5 hospitalizations and a total of 440 in isolation. This partly reflects the high rate of screening tests for residents of Gibraltar, which allows us to detect many more positive cases than elsewhere.” 

The authorities have not clarified how many of the cases are among the unvaccinated population. “This means that that it is essential for the public to behave in a prudent and reasonable manner bearing in mind that we are still in a global pandemic and people are losing their lives every day all over the world”, the government added. 

Although the cases are increasing in the area there has still been widespread vexation as Gibraltar cancels Christmas festivities. People have taken to social media to ask why the measures are so large so soon and to say it is an over-reaction by the government. As of November 15, Gibraltar has recorded more than 6,500 cases out of a population of around 34,000 people.

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Written by

Claire Gordon