A WOMAN who caught COVID-19 nearly a month ago is the third Gibraltar resident to die from the virus.
The 95 to 100-year-old, a victim of the John Mackintosh Wing outbreak, died suddenly yesterday of pneumonia caused by COVID-19.
She tested positive for the virus on October 20, and has been cared for by Elderly Residential Services until she passed away.
This is the third elderly woman to die from the virus within a week on the Rock, indicating more could follow throughout this winter.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said it was ‘extremely difficult’ to announce this last death ‘as a result of COVID-19’.
“Our deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of the deceased,” said Picardo.
“All three members of our community who we have sadly lost to COVID-19 were of the generation who lived through the hardships of the Evacuation.
“They endured the long years of a closed frontier, all the while keeping up the unshakable Gibraltarian spirit.
“We should all remember their sacrifices now as we make vitally important changes to the way we go about our daily lives to protect the most vulnerable but most cherished generation of Gibraltarians.”
It is thought that a visitor to John Mackintosh House first introduced the virus to the home.
Since the outbreak, the homes run by Elderly Residential Services have been locked down to prevent any further infection of the most vulnerable in the community.
The Chief Minister hinted that it might be possible for the public to visit their elderly family relatives in the future.
“We will work to reintroduce visits as soon as possible,” he said.
“But we have to understand that doing so without a new protocol that draws on new testing techniques creates risks of death like the one we are unfortunately reporting today.”
Family members could be given a quick saliva test before entering the elderly home so they can see their loved ones with as low a risk as possible.
He insisted that all the measures are trying to bring the spread of COVID-19 to protect the most vulnerable who might have underlying issues.
“From masks in our town centre and other areas, masks in schools and other unwanted restrictions, each is undertaken with a heavy heart and only on the basis of the medical advice available to us,” Picardo added.
“Together, united and pulling in the same direction we will be strongest in dealing with the final stretch against the virus.”
Meanwhile, the RGP has warned anyone attending a COVID-19 protest march on November 20 they would be ‘committing an offence’.