THERE are not enough fully-trained lifeguards to start taking care of the beaches, the Chief Minister has said.

As the weather gets warmer and restrictions have lifted, more people have been flocking to the beach while trying to stick to social distancing rules.

Under the Government’s Unlock the Rock phased plan, Gibraltar’s bathing season is set to officially start on June 16 in phase four.

Until then, the Government has said that people can go to the beaches ‘in the usual way’ provided that they use common sense and act responsibly.

“It is only when beaches are overcrowded in a manner that threatens social distancing rules and legislation on public gatherings,that access to the beaches will be restricted,” they said.

But after a spate of sea rescues in the last few days, there have been calls for lifeguards to start up early.

‘Irresponsible’

This has been especially noticeable that with little other entertainment on the Rock and schools closed the beaches have been busier than ever.

In regards to this, the Government said: “The full complement of lifeguards needs to be properly trained before being deployed to our beaches.

“This training would have been completed by now were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown.”

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said it was ‘irresponsible’ to assign lifeguards to the beaches at this early stage.

He said this could bring more people to the beaches which could cause social distancing issues.

“It is frankly irresponsible for people to go to the beach before the bathing season is open,” said Picardo.

“There could be a no less common sense approach than to bathe when the red flag is flying and expect a police officer or a lifeguard to risk their lives to save them.”

COVID STATS

The number of active COVID-19 cases on the rock has risen up to ten, though seven have been reported to be cross frontier workers.

This raises the question as to whether more cases could be brought into the Rock by workers and whether the frontier has been a hotspot for COVID-19 transmission.

The number of people swab tested in Gibraltar is now nearly 7,000, with 355 results still to be received.

Some 36 people have remained in self isolation, consisting of people who are immuno-compromised and people living with active COVID patients.

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