A TEMPORARY testing area will be ready ‘in the next few days’ at the former Rooke site where swabs can be taken from people sat in their cars.

Work will begin immediately on the new facility for people who have potentially been exposed to the Coronavirus that has rocked the world.

Blood tests will also be taken in the same way for those who need this test to be carried out.

“People will not be asked to leave their car but will be swabbed as they wait, having first provided the necessary validation of their appointment,” said the Gibraltar Government.

“The sample will then be processed in the usual way.

“The GHA is working hard to process tests locally by the end of March, but at the moment swabs are sent to London.”

The GHA staff will wear apron, gloves and masks or face shields as they take the samples.

“By being tested in their own cars, people will be protected from contamination that might arise from visiting St Bernard’s Hospital,” said No.6 Convent Place.

“Similar services have just been developed in the UK, South Korea and Germany, but this way to test people is also an innovation in Gibraltar.”

The Government says the measure is part of a ‘worst case scenario’ for fighting the virus which has killed 1,000 outside China.

Alarmingly, 638 of those deaths were in southern European country Italy, where cases have passed the 10,000 mark.

Advice was also provided for university students abroad if they are diagnosed with the virus or travelling in an at-risk country.

Student warning

The Department of Education has written to all Gibraltar university students abroad to ‘provide reassurance regarding Covid-19’.

The Minister for Education, Gilbert Licudi, said: “Gibraltar’s University students are an important part of our community.

“I want each of them, and their families, to be reassured that there are mechanisms in place to support them whenever they may need it.

“Please pay close attention to the advice provided by your University, and by Public Health professionals both in the UK and Gibraltar.

“Get in touch with the Department of Education as soon as possible if you require assistance or support, so that we can help you.”

In the UK the number of people infected is now nearing 400, with the virus expected to peak in the next fortnight.

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