PEOPLE who disobey rules to self-isolate for the full length of time could be imprisoned, under new plans being considered by the Gibraltar Government.
The ‘coercive’ move as the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo described it, comes after reports that two people had not completed their self-isolation.
“We are looking at fines and if necessary imprisonment for people who refuse to self-isolate once they have been diagnosed,” said Picardo.
“We have had two instances reported of people with COVID-19 who have been seen out and about.
“That is anecdotal evidence which is now being investigated in order to determine whether it is correct or not.
He said this was ‘very serious indeed’ and would be enforced by ‘coerced isolation’ through jail-time.
On the stats front, active cases dropped to 11 as one person was given the all-clear out of 144 cases in total since March.
Picardo announced that the ‘Unlock the Rock’ document, to set a path for Gibraltar out of lockdown, would be published by May 6.
This process would be divided into six phases involving ‘social distancing, massive testing, aggressive contact-tracing and enforced self-isolation’.
One of the measures already being rolled out is temperature controls of people entering Gibraltar at the land frontier.
“People who have a temperature will be denied entry into Gibraltar,” Picardo revealed.
“As we progress an we will potentially be able to offer a field test at the frontier, or be able to offer a test at their place of residence.
“We’re looking at the possibility of being able to deploy people from Spanish private laboratories to come and test people in their homes.”
This would be organised by Gibraltar workers phoning the 111 number so that they could get help on the other side of the border.
On the freeing of movement last weekend for people to go shopping, the Chief Minister said it should not become a family outing but be limited to one person.
Director for Health Sohail Bhatti warned that 20 cases could lead to 200 if social distancing was not respected and Gibraltar cases could spike.
But the Chief Minister allayed fears of a return to full lockdown saying Gibraltar was much more ready for a jump in cases than it had been in March.
Bhatti also warned about the dangers of drinking too much alcohol, even as a form of self-medication, as this could create its own health problems.
Under new measures announced today, excluded industries from BEAT COVID measures could receive some funding for ‘inactive’ employees.
This would mean people working in financial services, gaming or insurance would split the costs of funding these workers with the taxpayer.
Some of the employees being paid out of BEAT COVID funding could also have their wages for May cut in half if they do some work during that time.
Finding a way
The Chief Minister said that he was trying to find a way that the frontier could be open for Gibraltarians to go to Spain.
He revealed he has been in talks with Spanish foreign ministry officials on how this could work out.
“This will obviously be reciprocal,” noted the Chief Minister.
“If the frontier opens for us to be able to go to Spain, other than for work or because we live there, it would also open for Spanish residents to be able to come to Gibraltar.
“That would create all sorts of other issues about testing the general flow of people into Gibraltar, as it would not just be the workers.”
A surprising measure that could be adopted is the closing of most of Line Wall Road, Chatham Counterguard and Europort Avenue to traffic.
This move, which the Chief Minister admitted was proposed by new party Together Gibraltar at the last election, will be made to reduce pollution in the town centre.
Set to commence in June, it will allow pedestrians and bicycles to use these roads and eliminate Gibraltar’s last town centre artery.