THE Chief Minister expects ‘most’ of Gibraltar to get the Coronavirus but he wants to ‘protect the most vulnerable’.
The shocking news came after Fabian Picardo arrived from a meeting in London with UK officials where a similar course of action is being taken.
“This is now quickly becoming a pandemic, in reality, not just in theory,” said Fabian Picardo in response an Olive Press question.
“Pretending that you can keep people out because in that way you’ll stop it from coming in is, in my view, entirely fanciful.
“The virus I’m very confident to tell you is unfortunately already here.
“We just will now soon start to see it being propagated in the numbers that we’ll be announcing coming weeks and months.”
Protecting the elderly
Even though Picardo expects most of Gibraltar to get the Coronavirus, he believes only the vulnerable ones will be at risk.
“You don’t need to fear the virus,” said the Chief Minister.
“The concern is to keep it away from the vulnerable demographic.
“This is not an incoming play that’s going to kill us all,” he reassured.
“It is a virus that’s coming.
“Most of us will get it.
“Most of us will recover quickly and easily from about from it.
“Some of us will have our worst case of it, but the elderly and vulnerable are the ones that we have to be careful with.”
It is this resignation that has led to Picardo’s plan not to close the frontier and lock down the British territory like other countries have done.
Gibraltar is literally run by the 15,000 cross-border workers that commute there each day.
Some of these work in basic services like health and care, apart from many of the online gaming professionals based in Spain.
The Chief Minister stated that while it will be an ‘extraordinarily difficult period’ the best way to stop the virus is to ‘create social distancing’.
“How do we do that?” he asked rhetorically.
“We’re just asking to keep people away from sitting down together in an area where there may be strangers that they have no idea where those people have been.
“In that way, we will try and stop the angle of attack that the virus will have in our community, and how it will penetrate in respect of that fundamental demographic.”
The moves being carried out by the government were adjusted to the particular dynamics of the Gibraltar community.
“Public Health experts advise that social distancing can slow the spread of the virus by 50-60%,” said the Gibraltar Government in its latest COVID-19 update.
“Increasing social distance is the single most effective thing that can be done to protect everybody’s loved ones.
“This means avoiding normal social interactions amongst friends such as kissing, hugging and hand-shaking.
“The updated advice is that everyone should avoid public gatherings of over 50 people, and maintain at least an arm’s length distance from others whilst in public, for example in shops and queues.
“Larger social gatherings including weddings, funerals and at restaurants, bars and the cinema should also be avoided.”
The government has restructured public services to attend to the needs of the elderly and vulnerable during this critical time.
“We’re going to be able to reach them when they need to be reached, to be able to provide them the service that we’re going to provide,” he continued.
“What people need to do is follow the basic advice about washing your hands and sanitising areas and as an act of love not go and see those who are in the elderly demographic.”
The Chief Minister commented on the support he had received in London, which could even include expert personnel.
“Already in my discussions with Prime Minister Johnson, we’ve sought support at the level of health professionals.
“We’re also asking recently retired medical staff to come back on our books.
“This is an ‘all hands on deck’ situation.”
He said he would this week go to Parliament ‘to get more powers to implement even more measures’ to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Such measures will have an effect on business and that’s why on Monday, my statement will be almost a mini budget to try and relieve these pressures,” added Picardo.