ALL elderly citizens over the age of 70 will only be leave their homes for essential services under new legislation to come into effect on Tuesday.
COVID-19 is known to be more harmful for those over the age of 70 or with underlying health conditions.
The new law, which is to apply from March 17, prevents these individuals from leaving their homes for reasons other than to go shopping, buy medicines, or go to work.
The elderly will however be allowed to leave their homes to go to their bank, care for someone with a disability or more vulnerable and to walk their dogs.
A civil penalty applies for anybody who disobeys this law.
The law will be in place up until 15 April, when the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Leader of the Opposition Keith Azopardi can choose whether to extend the legislation or not.
The decision to put this law in place was made after a cabinet meeting earlier today which lasted over 3 hours, where office holders discussed various policies as a result of the Coronavirus.
“The Cabinet acknowledged the hard work being put in by public officials in our health service and elsewhere who have been assisting with this situation,” said a statement from the Government
“It was also very grateful to the hundreds of volunteers who have come forward to support the community at this delicate time.”
The stricter restrictions came as Spain officially closed its land frontiers with Gibraltar, Spain and Portugal.
From midnight on Monday March 16, the only people who will be allowed into Spain from Gibraltar are cross-frontier workers, returning Spanish residents and those who have a really good reason to enter the country.
Despite the blockade being one of the objectives of the Vox party in the last elections Chief Minister Fabian Picardo stated it was not a political attack.
“I am satisfied that the measures being adopted are not politically motivated against us,” said Picardo.
“They are the application to frontiers of what is already applicable throughout the territory of Spain to all Spanish citizens already.
“We have had it confirmed that workers needing to come across the frontier will be able to do so.”
On Sunday, the Olive Press confirmed that the Spanish workers were being asked for a work contract to enter Gibraltar enter the territory.
However, despite fears of long queues on Monday, traffic flow across the border was fluid with no commuters being hindered by the police.
“We advise them to have copies of their employment contracts with them if possible,” continued the Chief Minister.
“Additionally, we are also satisfied that there will be no effect on the supply of goods across the frontier for our supermarkets and grocers and, most importantly, for our Health Authority.”
A volunteer co-ordinating centre has been set up by the Government for those wishing to volunteer to help the elderly.
The Government’s Office for Civil Contingencies have set up a unit for this purpose and well over 400 people have registered their interest to help.
The co-ordinating committee is to match all the skills of the volunteers with what the community needs.
All the volunteers would be briefed on all the precautions to prevent infecting others and cross contamination.
“Such support on occasions such as these is invaluable, we can always count on our Gibraltarian community to step up, come together and be there for each other,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
The volunteer registration form can be found at: https://bit.ly/2UaAqKP
Additionally, the contact details for the Office of Civil Contingencies are email@example.com or +350 200 41818