COVID-19 active cases have continued to rise to all-time high of 580 in Gibraltar with 15 now in hospital.
The virus has continued to be spread despite the non-essential business lockdown, with a possible full lockdown on the way.
Hospital admissions have increased dramatically to 15, the largest ever number so far in the pandemic, with two of them fighting for life in the intensive care ward.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo stressed in an interview with GBC he might have no option but to call a full lockdown.
However, the full effects of the latest restrictions could start to be felt within a week or two, although those will be preceded by the results of the Christmas merrymaking.
Today the Gibraltar Government announced that the first claims for lost wages as a result of self-isolation had been paid out.
The measure aims to make sure workers do not have to worry about losing pay after being told to self-isolate by the Contact Tracing Bureau.
A fixed wage of £52.50 a day will be paid to those who have used up all their sick days and cannot work remotely.
“I am pleased to announce that the first handful of claims have been processed by the Department of Employment,” said Picardo.
“The individuals that applied have received their self-isolation pay leave on 24 December.
“This measure is directed at assisting workers so that they do not suffer a financial disadvantage if they are required to self-isolate.”
As a result of the rising cases, all art galleries and John Mackintosh Hall have closed their doors to the public, aiming to re-open on January 11 for a few hours a day.
All cultural community areas including the Central Hall will also be closed with events being looked at on a case by case basis.
Disability Services have also been closed as from today, after public health advice.
In particular, St Bernadette’s Resource Centre will shut until January 18, with staff sent to Dr Giraldi Services.
“The aim is to reduce contact in order to ensure the safety and welfare of our vulnerable service users and valued staff,” said a spokesperson for the Gibraltar Government.
“These are unprecedented and exceptional circumstances facing the community of Gibraltar.
“Therefore, everyone has to take measures to maintain acceptable bubbles, in a joint effort to combat this pandemic.”