THE number of people with coronavirus has jumped from five to ten on the Rock, after latest results were processed.

The news came as the government prepares to free up non-essential business and give elderly exercise rights from May 1.

“The latest test results are not as reassuring,” said Minister for Public Health John Cortes.

“This represents an additional nine positives in a week after a lull of about a week with no increase.

“When we release [from the lockdown] there’s more opportunity for a second wave, but whether we get it or not, will largely depend on how the community responds.”

The Minister reported that none of the cases are now in hospital except for one who recently tested negative and will soon be allowed to go home.

Recently, the government had a meeting with Professor David Heymann, a WHO infectious diseases expert in London.

Professor Heymann
EXPERT: Professor David Heymann advised Gibraltar authorities recently

“Prof Heymann confirmed that there are still many unanswered questions on community spread and immunity,” said Cortes.

“People with mild infections do not have much by way of detectable antibodies.

“Due to this lack of detectable antibodies we are still not clear about the extent of community transmission.

“This is one of the reasons why we have to take all the precautions that we have to take.”

Heymann pointed out that the masks are ‘recommended in enclosed space’ but it doesn’t protect people from the disease.

Instead, the WHO expert said ‘wearing of masks stops the wearer from spreading the virus’ if they have contracted it but might have no symptoms.

Heymann highlighted the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the ‘successful strategy’ of Gibraltar, but also warned about ‘complacency’.

Restart and recover

On culture, Cortes pointed out that the museum, libraries and exhibitions could be opened as well as dance schools.

Ivor Lopez, who is Civil Contingencies Coordinator, said that since COVID-19 was declared ‘a major incident’ it was all hand on deck.

He said that all areas have had shortages but they have done ‘marvellous work’ to work with what Gibraltar has access to in each moment.

“It was a huge logistical challenge not only with the medical equipment, but also the provision of oxygen supplies,” revealed Lopez.

“There’s also been the requirement to support people, particularly those registered with the care agencies, the overs 70s and families.”

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READY: Minister Cortes and Ivor Lopez at today’s press conference

Lopez reported that nearly 300 requests for support from 110 families had been received.

There were also 3,000 calls for non-medical COVID-19 support with psychological problems also being handled.

Cortes said that going forward, the herd immunity theory was no longer relevant but instead the government wanted to stop cases spreading.

The minister said that there was a possibility that Gibraltar could get ‘a significant second wave’.

He added this could mean the loosening of the lockdown will be kept ‘under review’ to see if there was a new peak, although everything was ready for it.

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