A 57-year-old local man ‘may have been’ the first victim from Covid-19, according to the Chief Minister of Gibraltar.
Two elderly people at Mount Alvernia have also tested positive for the virus with another believed to be infected at the Hillside residence.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases on the Rock went up to 88 today, although over half, 46, have now fully recovered.
The 42 active cases have been taken from 979 tests carried out, with 363 tests being carried out so far.
The Chief Minister revealed that the dead man ‘was in the high risk category and had been self-isolating for three weeks’.
The man had called the 111 emergency line on March 23 and he was advised to stay at home after saying he was not getting worse.
He died of a heart attack at just before midnight after calling the 111 line with an ambulance sent to his home within ten minutes, but the crew were unable to resuscitate him.
“I know everyone in our community will be heartbroken to see this cruel disease may have taken its first Gibraltarian victim,” said Picardo.
“I want to emphasise that this cannot yet be confirmed as a death from Covid.
“We will await the test results of the swab for the deceased before we are able to confirm whether or not this is a case and we will inform the public of the result.”
As part of his postmortem the man was swabbed and the test will be returned as soon as possible.
Although the authorities considered whether he had ‘underlying conditions’ to be confidential he said this could have caused more breathing difficulties.
New vulnerable cases
Responding to criticism from the public over the announcement, Picardo said he did not want to ‘sugarcoat information’ or hide anything from Gibraltarians.
“You will get all necessary information from us, whether it’s good or bad news,” he added.
“We will work for you to trust us so that you hear all reliable information from us.”
The Chief Minister also revealed that two of the three elderly people moved to isolation at the Hillside care home for dementia sufferes are coronavirus positive.
Another suspect case at Mount Alvernia care home is also in isolated pending the results.
As a result of these discoveries, all elderly residents and staff have now been swabbed at these two centres.
These new cases among the most vulnerable will force the government to increase their controls among Elderly Residential Services which runs the home.
New laws are being made ready to lockdown the homeless, work out who gets lifesaving equipment and issue life and death certificates online.
The new legislation has been agreed after talks with the Opposition as well as medical experts.
Medical Director Krish Rawal informed the public that the missing chemicals for the local testing equipment had now arrived.
After testing the machines tests could commence ‘within a matter of days’ which would make swabbing more efficient.
He said everyone who has been swabbed is called everyday to see if their conditions are getting worse.
Rawal said that the list of Covid symptoms were changing daily so it was difficult to keep track of what to look out for.
He asked people to stick to the social lockdown after more people were seen in the street and in vehicles this week.
“Keep your social distance, only go out if you absolutely have to wash your hands, and if you have any concerns report your symptoms to the 111 line,” added the Medical Director.
Despite this lax attitude, the Chief Minister said on-the-spot fines would not be introduced at the moment, even though the relevant legislation is ready if necessary.
After the announcement of the death, stricter police controls were viewed around town, especially at roundabouts.
There were half hour queues at Morrison’s supermarkets that went around the parking.
Part of the reason for this were the big spaces between all of the people trying to get into the biggest shop in Gibraltar.