14 May, 2020 @ 21:13
1 min read

‘People need to get their lives back’, says minister about Gibraltar lockdown release

Main Street Restrictions

A RETURN to normality and the ‘need for the economy to get back on-track’ are two reasons for Gibraltar allowing free movement before nearly every other country.

Minister for Public Health John Cortes said ‘containment’ was the best strategy going forward as the Rock becomes one of the first places to allow free movement from next week.

“If we were looking for herd immunity we would have said, ‘out you go, everybody catch it,'” revealed Cortes.

“We are hoping that with the antibody tests, we will be able to determine what kind of immunity we have in the community.

“People need to get their lives back and we need to get the economy back on track, but never at the risk of a single Gibraltarian life.”

The minister visited the new testing laboratory at the University of Gibraltar yesterday and said this ‘aggressive approach’ of testing could help lower numbers in the community.

The number of active coronavirus cases was just three once again out of 147 confirmed cases in total.

Minister for Digital Services Albert Isola revealed that he would need 60% of people to download the new contract tracing app to make it work.

“When you download the app, you will not even required to register your name, so we are not keeping information on anybody,” said Isola.

“If people are worried about data or privacy worried of that’s going to mean people will not register.

“When they download if they then tested positive, they will simply put a code number into their app, press send, and the app itself will send a message to all the people living close to them.”

Isola also confirmed that there are plans to improve the online government transactions services currently used during the pandemic.

EUROPA POINT: Minister Cortes visiting the new testing lab yesterday

Culture vulture

Cortes, an amateur dramatist himself, was happy that his culture portfolio was slowly being restored to its former glory too.

He reported that the virtual museum has seen social media visits increase to 130,000 visits since it started two months ago.

Other online cultural programmes like the virtual tour of the Mario Finlayson Gallery and videos of past events continue to be streamed.

A frontline workers project will now get together 48 artists to paint for free for an exhibition once the lockdown restrictions are relaxed further.

Culture TV will now be launched in the first week of June, Cortes announced with short story and art competitions still running too.

As part of the ‘Unlock the Rock’ scheme, the National Museum, John Mackintosh Hall Library, Garrison Library and exhibition galleries will now open on 26 May.

Performances will be allowed from June 1 but without spectators until August 3 when they will be allowed to be one third full.

Places of worship could be opened after June 1, while public gatherings and larger events are also being considered for the future.

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