15 May, 2020 @ 21:50
2 mins read

Gibraltar to test 1% of population each day from next week to get a firmer grip on cases

Testing Lab

ALMOST 5,000 swab tests have been carried out on front-line workers and people with COVID-19 symptoms on the Rock.

Some 4,689 swab test results have been received and the number of confirmed cases remains at 144, with only three active cases today.

The testing has been carried out at St Bernard’s Hospital, with a new testing facility being set up at the university this week.

The second lab could be up and running as from next week, helping to test 1% of the population each day.

The new facility will continue the work of testing frontline worker to find those that are infected with no symptoms.

It will be equipped with a new ‘lamp test’ developed by Gibraltarian Nick Cortes in the UK, with results being ready the same day.

The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo noted that if Gibraltar continued to have a low number of cases over the course of this weekend, it will begin Phase two of the Unlock the Rock scheme on May 21.

This phase will give people freedom of personal movement as long as they maintain social distancing.

The ban on large gatherings of over ten people is still in place with social distancing applied at all times as well.


One of the main actions of the Government to fight COVID-19 was the Nightingale facility.

It was located at Europa Point Sports Hall and quickly fitted with 300 beds ready to take in Coronavirus patients.

CLOSING: The Nightingale Facility could be set up at a moment’s notice

These patients would have been able to take advantage of the ventilators set up there if they were patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

However, no severe cases of the virus have appeared yet on the Rock, with no deaths reported since COVID appeared in Gibraltar in March

This means that the Nightingale Ward at Europa Point will be decommissioned ‘in tandem with the release of the lockdown’, according to Dr Daniel Cassaglia, who is in charge of the facility.

“At the moment, the Nightingale facility can be activated at a very short notice and within 24 to 48 hours we can be up and running again,” said Cassaglia.

He said that the equipment currently there could be used in the future if a field hospital is required once again.

If there was a sudden surge of COVID cases overflowing St Bernards Hospital, the least acute patients would be transferred to the Nightingale facility at Europa Point.

The staff that were at the Nightingale Facility have been retrained and have formed part of the contact tracing bureau, who will be keeping tabs on who people have met when they have caught the virus.


The GHA have been in contact with patients 24,155 times, a figure which includes the ‘111’ hotline used for people to let the health authority know of any virus symptoms.

This also includes the GHA telling people whether they have received a negative result after getting swabbed.

“They’ve dealt with 12,000 nursing contacts, mostly face to face, but also telephone consultations,” said Picardo.

Onb a happier note, there have been approximately 50 ‘lockdown babies’ being born since quarantine commenced in March in Gibraltar.

Cassaglia and Picardo assured the public that the medical response to the Coronavirus had not been an overreaction after a question from The Olive Press.

“To all 1159 employees of the Gibraltar Health Authority and the locals on top of that, thank you,” Picardo added.

The Chief Minister said that when this is all over, he would ‘ensure that we always continue to have the investment and resources’ the GHA needs going forward.

Information on the total COVID-19 medical expenditure will be released in the coming weeks.

Previous Story

FREEDOM: Here is what you can do in Phase 1 of Spain’s coronavirus de-escalation plan as Malaga, Granada and Valencia enter next stage

Palma New
Next Story

Like a Marvel hero, Terenia Taras is swooping home to Mallorca to help save the travel industry from the brink of coronavirus destruction

Latest from Coronavirus

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press