THE number of people crossing the border has increased after Gibraltar eased its restrictions on businesses last weekend.

Hairdressers, retailers, offices and self-contained construction sites all opened last week, letting non-essential workers from Spain travel into Gibraltar with a work contract.

Number of cross-frontiers went up to nearly 4,000 people on May 4 alone, an increase of 826 people from April 27, the week before.

A total of 17,447 crossed into Gibraltar last week, which saw a sharp rise of 5579 people compared to the week before.

“The numbers have increased over the week, but they are still very low compared to the same period last year when over a quarter of a million people crossed into Gibraltar,” said Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia.

A thermal imaging scanner has been tested at the border for a week to respond to the increasing flow of workers while restrictions ease in both Spain and Gibraltar.

“This automatically reads the temperature of those who come in, emitting a warning when there is a temperature spike,” Garcia continued.

Active cases fell back down to three today on the Rock, as 3,962 people have been swabbed, amounting to 12.4% of the total population.

“The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gibraltar is low, but we still cannot let down our guard,” said the DCM.

There are now over four million confirmed cases around the globe with Spain recently having reduced infection and death rates.

The Deputy Chief Minister referenced the infection rates in the nearby regions of Spain, saying that the Campo has reported 80 active cases and a total of 32 deaths.

Algeciras was the ‘worst hit’ with 171 confirmed cases and 18 deaths, while La Linea has reported 31 confirmed cases and one death.

“The situation next door, as I’ve just described, can have an immediate impact on what happens here,” he added.

“We will need to continue to keep a close eye monitoring the situation there as we move forward.”

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Contact tracing

Garcia explained that there are two competing apps of contact tracing which are being considered in Gibraltar.

The first app is the NHS’s tracing app ‘NHS X’ which has seen controversy over privacy concerns in the UK and is currently being used in the Isle of Wight.

The second app is one being developed by Apple which will save information on people’s mobile phones.

“The mechanics are expected to be similar in the sense that your phone will alert you if you have been in contact with someone report symptoms of COVID-19,” Garcia said.

“Those who have been in close contact will then be expected to self isolate the duration of the self isolation, depends on the outcome of the test.”

Contact tracing along with swab testing may become familiar as Gibraltar tries to go back to normality.

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The ‘Unlock the Rock’ document is thought to be released to the public ‘in the next few days’ after expected announcements in Spain and UK tomorrow.

Community

The Golden Hour scheme which was put in place nearly two weeks ago has seen ‘positive feedback’, according to Garcia.

The average amount of elderly people using the scheme is around 250 per day, with Camp Bay being the most popular place to exercise.

This is followed by Commonwealth Park, Eastern Beach and Victoria Stadium, which has seen the least amount of elderly people exercising.

“The government is delighted the scheme is working so well that many of our over 70s have decided to exercise in this sheltered and protected environment.”

There are now only 38 people stranded abroad as a result of the global pandemic.

There are nine Gibraltarians in India, one in South Africa and 27 in Morocco, with 23 brought over yesterday.

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