8 Sep, 2020 @ 17:52
2 mins read

COVID-19 breakout at Gibraltar school raises alarm as cases grow in Spain

St Bernards School

A YEAR 2 teacher and child from St Bernard’s Primary School have tested positive to the COVID-19 virus.

The discovery has led to contact tracing teams moving in to get affected children to self-isolate.

Those children who are self-isolating will now be able to carry on with their classes online

Parents were sent the details on how to use the SeeSaw program via email, with access codes available on application.

Year 2 teachers who are in self-isolation have been giving the children direction on how to go through the lessons.

A total of 67% of the children accessed the platform today, which included number bonds, phonics and brain-breaks.

“The Contact Tracing Bureau has been in contact with those staff members and all parents of children who have been deemed as close contacts,” said the Gibraltar Government.

“They have been informed of the requirementto self-isolate up to and including next Monday 14th September.

The infected teacher and student were last in school on Friday.

Mrs Lopez, Head teacher of St Bernard’s Lower Primary School was very pleased with the speed and ease with which her staff put the alternative provision into effect.

Close contact is described by the authorities as ‘close proximity within an enclosed area for longer than 15 minutes’.

Siblings of those who have been put in isolation have been told to go to school as normal unless told not to by the Contact Tracing Bureau.

Parents of children at St Bernard’s Lower Primary are also to send their children to school if they are not informed otherwise.

Anyone who has ‘specific concerns’ has been asked to contact the school’s headteacher.

Spanish spike

The outbreak comes as the Gibraltar Government warned people going to Spain to keep their social distance.

There are now 39 active cases of the coronavirus on the Rock with over 37,000 tests having been carried out.

In Andalusia, however, there are currently 700 people in hospital with COVID-19, with 100 recovering at intensive care wards.

Closer to home, there are 97 active cases in La Linea and 245 in Algeciras, with local lockdowns in towns like Barbate.

“A spike of cases in Gibraltar in August was linked directly to a party in Marbella attended by a number of young people from Gibraltar,” said the Government.

“Everyone should understand that such activities pose a risk to relatives, in particular those who are elderly or vulnerable to the effects of the virus.”

The warning to young people trying to socialise comes as the virus has now killed nearly a million people worldwide.

“Persons going to Spain should follow the rules and that take adequate precautions, including the use of face masks, frequent hand-washing and maintaining social distance,” warned the Government.

Numbers ban

Police Commissioner Richard Ullger noted that the Civil Contingencies Emergency restrictions had been published today in the Gibraltar Gazette.

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They confirm that nobody is allowed to gather together with more than twenty people in a public place.

“While we recognize people’s constitutional right to freedom of speech, in the current public health crisis it was sensible that legislation should be put into effect

“It gives us the appropriate instruments to be able to police demonstrations or illegal gatherings effectively and prevent situations which may put the health of the public at risk.

“We urge the public to use other means to express their concerns be it via social media and other telecommunications outlets which do not carry the risk of spreading the Covid 19 virus.”

Already a group called Open Your Eyes (OYE) has demonstrated on the Rock against COVID-19 restrictions with a strong online following.

Finally the Government has warned beach users they ‘will not be permitted to set up beach furniture, equipment or related apparel in advance of National Day’.

“This will ensure a clean and sanitised beach environment for all to enjoy safely on this special day,” added the Government.

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