TENS of thousands of new tests that will give Coronavirus results within five minutes rather than eight to 12 hours will be soon be used locally.

Gibraltar may be able to get these tests sooner than countries like England since local man Dr Nick Cortes was in the development team behind the new equipment.

However, the tests only work for a small window of time so the GHA are waiting for what Director of Health Sohail Bhatti a ‘reliable’ antibody test to be able to see who has had the Coronavirus previously.

“This will make a dramatic difference in the way that we test, but remember, this test only tells you if you are carrying an infection and are infectious now,” said Bhatti.

“We’ve actually got the machines in Gibraltar now and we’re just waiting for the final chemical to arrive in a week or so.”

He said this new test is ‘exactly the same’ as the old one, but does a ‘bit of magic’ to get the result in five minutes.

Meanwhile, the total number of tests carried out has now reached 1,001, with confirmed cases passing the 100 mark.

This does not include the tests which have been done with the random community testing of 400, but this testing has concluded and we will be getting information on this shortly.

The total number of tests done in the territory is 1,345.

Though Gibraltarians will be happy to hear that the number of people who have recovered has exceeded the amount of people who are active.

A total of 52 people have recovered and 51 people currently are infected.

Based on recent statistics, it seems like the rate of infection is decreasing and the rate of recovery is increasing, which could mean that the social lock-down has been working in the community.

Beaches

The Minister for Public Health has said that going to the beaches to exercise is perfectly fine as long as people keep the recommended distance based on public health advice.

“If you go out for exercise, you can run or walk, but please don’t loiter – a walk is not a picnic,” said Minister John Cortes.

“The weather will soon turn for the better soon and Easter weekend is coming, additionally this is the start of when we start going to the beach – well sadly not this year.”

“You can walk along the beach, even go for down for a quick swim if that is your preferred form of exercise,” Cortes added.

“But going to the beach and spending time there is not allowed under the regulations.”

“If we find that this is being abused we may be forced to close the beaches altogether.”

He said that exercise will be permitted like swimming and surfing as long as social distancing rules are applied.

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MAKING WAVES: Gibraltar has a thriving surfing community which should not be stopped from exercising

Masks

The Director of Public Health is convinced that people wearing masks in public are not entirely effective of to protect against the virus.

Bhatti said he was ‘disappointed’ with people folding to the pressure of wanting masks to protect themselves.

“There always was a little bit of evidence to suggest that wearing a mask would certainly protect you from passing on to someone else,” said The Director of Public Health

“Once you must become saturated with moisture, it doesn’t work as a filter in any way.”

“Research has been published just last week that indicated that the virus can survive on a surgical mask for up to nine days.”

Bhatti once again warned that we should be prepared for deaths in our community.

He also talked about how despite the curve now being flattened in Gibraltar, it would be hard to return to normal considering how hard the virus has hit Spain and London.

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