HEALTH chiefs met with government ministers, police and essential services this week to plan against the coronavirus threat.
With the first two cases of the disease having been recorded in the UK today, Gibraltar is on alert to contain a local outbreak.
The authorities have advised anyone who thinks they have the virus to not go to the hospital, as this could lead to the spread of the virus.
“Only people who have been to China in the last 2 weeks are considered to have any risk of catching Coronavirus,” said the Gibraltar Government.
“If they have the normal symptoms of a cold, but otherwise feel well, they should stay at home, keep warm, drink plenty of fluids, and call the PCC by telephone.
“They will be promptly called by one of our infection control nurses and be given advice and help appropriate to their circumstances and condition.”
The early signs of the highly infectious disease are a dry cough, fever, shortness of breath and a sore throat.
As the disease is spread ‘by droplets’ the government advised ‘frequent handwashing’ to stop a local outbreak.
Despite Gibraltar’s reliance on antibiotics, the government warned this would not work on the virus if it did occur, as the medicine is only effective against bacterial infections.
With many people living in such close proximity to each other on the Rock, an outbreak of Coronavirus locally could be disastrous.
That is why the RGP met with top health officials at No. 6 Convent Place to ‘prepare for any possible effects that the virus could have on Gibraltar’, according to the Government.
The meeting was chaired by Acting Chief Minister John Cortes who looks after Public Health, along with Minister for Civil Contingencies Samantha Sacramento and Minister for Health Paul Balban.
The Director of Public Health, Dr Sohail Bhatti, briefed the coordinating group on the current state of the virus as it spreads around the world.
The virus is thought to have been first contracted to humans from birds at a market in Wuhan, China.
Since being first reported on New Year’s Day, around 10,000 cases of the disease have been declared around China, with over 200 people having died as a result.
The spread of the Coronavirus led to the World Health Organisation calling the outbreak a global health emergency.
Meanwhile, in the USA, pharmaceutics companies are racing to come up with the first vaccine for the disease.