AFTER the discovery of its first COVID-19 case, Gibraltar is bracing itself to stop the spread of the killer virus after weeks of preparation.
The new victim who recently flew back to Málaga airport from northern Italy is currently in self-isolation with their partner who currently has no symptoms of the virus.
COVID-19 was made a global health emergency by the World Health Organization on the January 30 2020, quickly spreading through over 60 countries across the globe.
There are over 85 confirmed cases in the UK, nearly 200 in Spain and over 92,000 worldwide.
“We need to wash our hands well with soapy water for as long as it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice,” warned Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
“We need to cough into our sleeves and not expectorate over others, surfaces or foodstuffs.”
Symptoms will be mild for 90% of people who get the virus and people can recover at home in self isolation.
“We must continue to ensure that as a community we heed the advice of our public health authorities,” said the GSD.
“We trust that the contingencies and advance preparations made will be able to quickly trace those that the individual may have come into contact with since arriving back in Gibraltar.”
People with health conditions and the elderly are the most vulnerable from the virus.
The Government has said that it is unlikely that schools will close.
People who are feeling unwell are asked to avoid public transport and call ‘111’ to talk about their symptoms.
Hand-washing has been described as the ‘most effective’ way to prevent the spread of infection by the Gibraltar Health Authority.
Hand sanitizer and hand wash have been sold out in many pharmacies and shops around Gibraltar from customers buying in bulk for hygiene purposes.
Keeping a distance of at least one metre between yourself and others in social interactions and disinfecting surfaces that may be contaminated has been recommended by the GHA.
GSD Shadow Minister for Health, Elliot Phillips urged all employers to inform employees of the hygiene protocols set in place to combat the virus.
“We wish the individual concerned a speedy recovery and those responsible for his/her care all the very best,” said GSD Shadow Minister for Health, Elliot Phillips.
The Government have advised against going to the hospital or primary care centre if you are having symptoms of COVID-19.
Practice exercises have been held at the hospital to get GHA staff prepared if a patient transfer service is ever needed.
The Government reminds the public to not panic on social media and be informed by official sources about COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the Coronavirus Co-ordinating Group told people to ‘avoid large public gatherings where possible’.
With Gibraltarians living in such close proximity to each other, the possibility of contracting the disease would be increased if undetected in a patient.