25 Apr, 2020 @ 21:17
1 min read

Swabbing to be increased in Gibraltar as active cases rise again

Testing Centre

The protection of the elderly from the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of Gibraltar’s greatest achievements, said the Director

Three new active cases has been reported by authorities, taking the total of active cases of the Coronavirus up to five.

“We’ve spent a lot of time collecting the personal protective equipment, we’ve been building up the stock of swabs and tests, increased our staffing, and the training of the workers,” he said.

“What we’ve really successfully done, which they haven’t in many other places, is to protect our vulnerable, particularly her elderly.

“I think that is the single most important achievement of the last two and a half months.”

A total of 2,174 swab tests have been carried out, with 2,061 test results received and only 135 have come back positive.

The Director of Public Health Sohail Bhatti said that they were ‘not doing enough’ swab tests and that they should ‘use the swabs wisely’.

Test, test, test

It will include Customs officers, GHA staff, ERS carers, the RGP and teachers.

At a later date it could also extend to supermarket and home delivery workers.

“That should mean the over a period of a few weeks, you’ll be swabbed, and you’ll be swabbed again,” said the Director of Public Health.

“That’s probably the best way we can provide you the assurance that at that time you did not have the infection.”

The programme will also test the inmates at Gibraltar’s prison, as Bhatti said it was a ‘contained unit where it could spread very rapidly’.

Gib Prison
JAILED: The Gibraltar Prison could become a hotspot for the pandemic

There were also possibilities of getting antibody tests which could be made to find out who had over COVID-19.

It came after the UK announced that 25,000 antibody tests would be carried out to find out who could return to work.

Team effort

The Minister for Health Paul Balban reported how well the government has handled the pandemic across all department.

Over 4,900 calls have been made to Gibraltar’s COVID-19 phone line of 111.

There have been 1,500 submissions in Gibraltar’s self-checking symptom website to see if the user has the coronavirus.

Some 27 calls have been made to the Government’s ‘outreach’ phoneline for families finding quarantine difficult to talk to professionals about their issues.

A total of 352 swabs have been processed in Gibraltar’s in-house testing facility since it got up and running on April 9.

The drive-thru resting facility at the old Rooke site has taken 888 swabs since it started up last month.

Balban said the Government was ‘most grateful to all those who have contributed’ in regards to donations.

Some 830 donors have come up with 1.63 million pounds in donations to help the GHA combat the public heath emergency.

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