MINISTERS in Gibraltar have pleaded with the public to not abuse of freedoms provided by the social lockdown or they will be forced to allow on the spot fines.

With total active cases now hitting the 51 mark out of a total of 65 confirmed cases, it has issued a stark warning to those who think they can abuse the exceptions to the rules.

“Lockdown means that everyone should stay at home, said Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia.

“You must not go out, unless you really have to.

“There are a number of exceptions.

“But these should not be abused.

“They are only for exceptional circumstances.

“Going shopping should not become a social event.

“Taking the dog out or throwing the rubbish should not take all morning.”

Garcia added that on-the-spot fines are ‘definitely possible’ if people continue to abuse their freedoms.

As a result of the queues at supermarkets, Morrison’s has now said only one person per trolley are allowed at the supermarket.

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While the DCM acknowledged it was ‘difficult’ to remain indoors for such a long time, this period of time would only be increased by people leaving home.

“That is why the Gibraltar police, customs, and the defence police will stop you,” Garcia warned.

“They will want to know where you’re going.

“Then they will ask to see your ID if you happen to look over 70-years-old.”

Instead of going out, he asked people to salute the emergency services by clapping every night at 8pm.

Doctor’s help

In the last day, five people were attended to at A&E in the hospital with two being swabbed, one remaining in a ward and the rest sent home.

“We have two patients in our critical care units, both of whom have tested positive and are doing very well,” said Health Minister Paul Balban.

“Neither have been ventilated.

“We have four patients in our Covid ward, two who are positive, and two who are pending results but all four are doing well.”

With 227 test results still being processed, the number of cases could increase quickly.

As tests will be carried out in Gibraltar later this week, it will be much easier to see how the Rock is doing in its containment of the virus.

Doctors can be contacted on Whatsapp for a video chat by calling 20007910 and repeat prescriptions arranged via 20007909.

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The field hospital has been renamed the Nightingale Facility, and will be ready to receive patients as from this coming week, based on GHA management advice.

On the topic of how many health workers have tested positive, the government said it ‘does not have the exact number’ but most were recovering in self-isolation to return to work.

The aim of the quarantine is to reduce the cases around the most vulnerable, that data suggests, are often the over-70s.

This is why Garcia said ‘the elderly should not go out at all’ and their families should help them without contacting them directly.

As Gibraltar is a tight-knit community very set in their ways, many people have found ways to deny the threat as an excuse to leave the house, leading to further contamination.

Worse to come

He said that despite the ban on construction, 24 permits have been issued, all to key projects with ‘strict conditions of movement of workers’.

Noise from these sites, that includes some government projects will be kept to a minimum outside the normal working hours of 9am to 5pm.

There are now no more flights to and from Gibraltar, with the only airline servicing the Rock, Easyjet, now cancelling all its flights until April 7.

A number of Gibraltarians are stranded in countries all over the world, from Australia to Honduras but efforts will be made to bring them back soon.

The call centre that has 12 lines has now moved to the former Bayside School, with volunteers attending to the needs of the elderly as we speak.

Nearly 3,000 calls have been made to the 111 service, with 900 people using the online checker.

“Everyone must do their bit,” insisted Garcia.

“The sense of community spirit has been truly overwhelming.

“Please understand that this war against a killer virus that is ravaging the planet is far from over.

“The experts tell us the worst battles are still to come.

“More of our people are showing signs of infection.

“We have made plans to prepare for the very worst.”

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